The number of homes for sale has been lower than normal for years now. Home shoppers looking for a home to buy have had to compete over limited listings, which has led to bidding wars, rising prices, and frustration. But things may finally be changing. In fact, the number of active listings rose in May for the first time in three years, according to the National Association of Realtors' consumer website. The national inventory of active listings increased 8 percent year over year, with newly listed homes up 6.3 percent. That's the first year-over-year improvement since June 2019. It's also encouraging news for home buyers, who have been dealing with a fast-paced market and challenging affordability conditions since the pandemic sent already low inventory even lower. But while the gains are welcome news, it's only a start. Which means, though listings are improving, challenges remain. Inventory is still lower than normal, home prices are still up, and listings continue to sell quickly. In other words, the tide may be turning but, for now, home buyers still have to be prepared.