More dark news for people trying to sell homes, and for all those businesses dependent on home-sales activity: the number of houses on the market continued to climb locally in the July-through-September period.

According to a report issued yesterday by the Otteau Appraisal Group, an East Brunswick-based firm that closely tracks residential market data, Monmouth County had 6,919 homes on the market at the end of the third quarter. That’s a whopping 51 percent increase from the end of the third quarter of 2005, a point at which the real estate market was already well into its present stall-out.

The latest figures translate into an oversupply that could take 11 months to work down, if the market were even conducive to sales, Otteau reports. A year ago, the market had a five-month supply.

Red Bank had 130 homes awaiting buyers at the quarter’s end, up from 100 a year prior, and a projected absorption timetable that matched the county’s. Fair Haven had 70 homes on the market, up from 59, and a 12-month backlog. Little Silver had 60, up from 48, and also a yearlong supply.

Rumson’s inventory soared to 129 homes, from 94, with a projected backlog of 18 months, reflecting the increased difficulty of selling properties with pricetags of $600,000 and up, Otteau reported.

The doldrums were most evident in Middletown, the largest single market in the region. There, the number of homes on the market soared by 55 percent, to 596 homes, also with a projected absorption rate of 11 months.

More recent data might on its face appear more encouraging, but it’s all in how you read it.

Our anonymous friend at the Jersey Shore Real Estate Bubble Blog also reported Wednesday that the number of homes list on the Eastern Monmouth County Multiple Listing Service was 4,444 this week, down from 4,514 last week, contining a trend of recent vintage. He attributes this, however, not to improving sales but to delistings by frustrated wannabe sellers.

Bubble Boy also has some forecasts concerning the duration of current conditions, a ‘dead-cat bounce’ and steep drops in asking prices come next spring by sellers who’ve been on the market for a year with no action.

We’ve no idea how good his crystal ball is, but he lays out a compelling scenario.

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