Good news: May inventory is up 16.9 percent for the year, which is a good, solid number. (See the explanation below.)

Bad news: Inventory is still 14.3 percent lower than last May nationwide.

Inventory typically follows a cycle, increasing through the first half of the year and decreasing through the second half. So by July it might be 15 percent above what it began the year with. By December it might be right back where it started.

In 2011 and 2012, inventory didn’t increase much through June, and then it decreased significantly through the end of those years — by December 2012, for example, inventory was more than 20 percent below what it started the year with.

That meant we started 2013 from a much lower point than the year before; luckily it’s been moving up at closer to a normal rate… whatever that is.

Calculated Risk has a chart that makes it clear:

(We’ll have Virginia-specific numbers in a few days.)