January gives us an early read on market conditions preceding the busy spring selling season. It does not appear like conditions in 2017 are similar to 2016. Sales and new listings were both slightly on the weak side of average. As a result, inventory growth has not been high, but is average. Since inventory was extremely low through all of 2016, there is a long way to climb to bring inventory back to historical levels. The lack of inventory suggests that, even with low sales volumes, prices will likely remain robust through the spring. This is based on the historical high negative correlation between months of inventory and price changes.
2017 is an unprecedented year in that both sales and inventory are low. It is unclear to me how quickly, or if, the market can return to an average level of inventory and sales this year. Inventory can only climb by new listings significantly exceeding sales (and listing expiries not being high). Unless new listings pick up or sales slow further, there is no path for inventory to return to historical levels before the end of the spring selling season. (See 2006 for a potential template.)