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November’s existing San Diego homes sales were up from October’s abysmal pace, but only by 3.4 percent. On a year-over-year basis, resale activity was down 29.1 percent.

Resale inventory was down 2.0 percent from October but up 10.6 percent from last November. There was a steep dropoff in inventory levels last fall, but we aren’t seeing that this year. If I had to guess I’d attribute last year’s inventory decline to sellers taking their homes off the market in the hopes that things would be better for them in the spring. When spring arrived, as we know, things hadn’t really improved, so fewer sellers may be trying that gambit this year. Also, a lot more of this year’s inventory is of the must-sell variety that is less likely to be pulled off the market for the holidays.

That’s my theory, anyway. Whatever the reason, inventory levels have not followed last year’s pattern but have instead been fairly flat since the summer.

At November’s pace of sales, it would have taken 12.4 months for all of the available resale inventory to be sold. This is slightly better than October’s 13.1 months of inventory but far higher than we saw last November, as the accompanying graph shows, and firmly in bear market territory.

— RICH TOSCANO

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