The low inventory of for-sale homes is creating a seller’s market throughout the country.
“Buyers and agents are literally waiting for the next house,” says Rick Turley, president of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage for the San Francisco Bay Area.
The supply of existing homes for sale reached nearly an eight-year low in January, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Nationwide, there is a 4.2-month supply of existing homes for sale.
A more balanced market with a six-month supply will occur when home prices rise another 20 percent, says John Burns, CEO of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Such an increase would then lure sellers to match demand coming in from renters and investors, and the rise in prices will also lead to more home building, Burns says.
Still, a return to healthy inventory levels could be years off, some say. “Many home owners can’t afford to sell because they don’t have enough equity to put into buying another house — or would have to write a check to sell,” USA Today reports. “The supply of distressed houses for sale is thinning as the foreclosure crisis recedes, especially in some states. Home building, while improving, is still at low levels. And, after years of holding on, few home owners want to sell when prices are just coming off the bottom, REALTORS® say.”
Source: “Home sellers are scarce as spring buyers stir,” USA Today (Feb. 26, 2013)