The number of available homes for sale is up 42 percent from where it was last year at this time, according to new numbers from the National Association of Realtors' consumer website. The analysis – which looked at the housing market through the week ending November 5 – found active inventory up for the fourth consecutive week. That's good news for home buyers. It means more options, less competition, and more time to make buying decisions. In fact, the data shows homes for sale are spending an extra week on the market compared to the same time last year. But while a growing number of homes for sale is encouraging after years of historically low inventory, the improvement isn't due to new listings – which are down from last year. That's an indication that the inventory gains are more likely the result of fewer home buyers active in the market than a rush of new sellers listing their homes.