As we start 2017, we have two major forces at odds in our real estate market. First is a decrepit housing inventory — the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades. Yet, on the other side, demand is outstanding.

How this will play out over the course of the year is difficult to predict.

As we know, 2016 was a banner year. Literally, someone should have a banner made. Where would we hang it? Oh never mind … let’s just look at the numbers.

Charts of Louisville home sales and Louisville home prices for the 12 month period ending January 2017.

Sales are up slightly in January, but the real story is the continued increase in home sale prices.

During January 2016, there were 643 homes sold in Jefferson County. This year, we beat that mark by a slim margin, when 654 properties exchanged hands. Good for a 1.71 percent increase.

If there were more homes available for sale, this number would most certainly be significantly higher. Here’s why: The absorption rate last February was a paltry 2.73 months, well below a balanced market that is considered to be six months of housing inventory.

In January 2017, it has dropped even farther to just 2.18 months. This is dangerously low and will start having an even greater affect on sale prices going forward.

We’ve seen a bit of improvement in new listings, which are up 49 units this January compared to last. Even still, the opportunity for a quick home sale will be available to most Louisville homeowners throughout most of 2017 as buyers battle over fewer options.

Anyone considering a move will have a far easier time on the selling side paired with a more challenging time when buying.

The median home sales price in January was $161,000. This is up $9,000 year over year. It’s clear home prices will continue to rise more sharply than in the past, at least until equilibrium returns to our real estate market, which will not be anytime in the near future.

The average sale price of all homes sold in Louisville during January was $194,108.