For the past few years, problems of excessive inventory have plagued the housing market. Whether it was concern about the number of homes in the shadow inventory or downward pressure on prices caused by too many for-sale properties and not enough buyers, inventory was an issue for the health of the housing market. More recently, however, the discussion has shifted to the effects of an increasing number of markets facing an inventory shortage. Recent data from the National Association of Realtors shows inventory of for-sale single family homes, condominiums, townhouses, and co-ops fell by nearly 20 percent in June compared to the year before and was down in all but three of the included 146 markets. Due in part to falling inventory, the median national list price was up 2.68 percent and the median age of the existing inventory was down nearly 10 percent year-over-year. Falling inventory and steadily rising prices are both signs of a market recovery. More here and here.