October 2023 Housing Market: Declining Inventory and Home Builder Sentiment

October 2023 Housing Market: Declining Inventory and Home Builder Sentiment Plymouth Title Guaranty Corporation

The October 2023 Housing Market in the U.S. presented a complex landscape of high mortgage rates intertwined with a fluctuating economy, creating a scenario of contradictions. While there was a slight uptick in single-family housing starts and permits, indicating a possibility for future construction expansion, the overall market dynamics continued to exhibit inconsistency.

Housing Inventory and Prices

The inventory of homes for sale experienced a decline compared to the previous year, with a 2.0% decrease in active listings and a 3.7% drop in total unsold homes, including those under contract. This reduction in inventory was not accompanied by a corresponding rise in prices; instead, the median list price of homes remained relatively stable compared to last year.

However, the increasing share of price reductions indicates a potential softening in home prices in the near future. This trend suggests that while sellers are adjusting their expectations, the market has not yet experienced a dramatic shift in pricing dynamics.

Regional Disparities

The housing inventory reduction was more acute in the country’s 50 largest metro areas, which saw a 6.7% year-over-year decrease. The regional analysis revealed a slight inventory growth in the South but significant declines in the Midwest, Northeast, and West.

This geographic variability underscores the ongoing mismatch between housing supply and demand across different regions of the United States, with some areas facing more acute shortages than others.

Builder Sentiment and Mortgage Rates

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reported a significant dip in builder sentiment, reaching its lowest point since December 2022. This decline in confidence among builders is primarily attributed to persistently high mortgage rates, which, despite a slight easing since October, continue to impact the housing market significantly.

These higher rates are affecting both the selling and buying sides of the market. Many homeowners, who secured loans at previously lower rates, are reluctant to list their properties, contributing further to the inventory shortage. This ‘locked-in’ effect is a significant factor in the current market dynamics, as it restricts the flow of available homes and exacerbates the challenges faced by potential buyers in finding suitable properties.


The housing market in October 2023 exhibited signs of both resilience and strain. While there’s a cautious optimism with the slight increase in housing starts and permits, the overall market is still grappling with high mortgage rates, low inventory, and regional disparities.

For prospective buyers and sellers, understanding these nuances is crucial for navigating the current real estate landscape. As we head into the end of the year, it remains imperative to monitor these trends for a clearer picture of the housing market’s trajectory.

For further insights into the October 2023 housing market, contact the title and escrow specialists at Plymouth Title Guaranty Corporation.