Are buyers being manipulated into overbidding for the relatively few attractive homes on the market?
Earlier this year, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced that the number of homes for sale in the U.S. had reached a low not seen since 1999. More homes have hit the market since then, but Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in March that in many areas around the nation, the inventory of homes for sale is unlikely to keep up with the number of interested buyers.
“Buyer traffic is 40% above a year ago, so there is plenty of demand but insufficient inventory to improve sales more strongly. We’ve transitioned into a seller’s market in much of the country,” said Yun. “We expect a seasonal rise of inventory this spring, but it may be insufficient to avoid more frequent incidences of multiple bidding and faster-than-normal price growth.
Bidding wars have been commonplace in Connecticut this spring, especially for mid-range properties ($300K to $600K), reports the Hartford Courant. Buyers are reportedly frustrated by “the slow trickle of new listings,” and “they are ready to pounce,” according to a local realtor, when an attractive property in their price range comes onto the market.
Bidding wars have also been popping up in cities such as Denver, where half of new homes on the market have been selling in under 30 days. CNN Money recently noted that nine in 10 homes in hot markets in northern and southern California have attracted bidding wars, as have at least two-thirds of properties in Boston, New York City, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. “The only question is not whether a new listing will get multiple bids but how many it will get,” one agent in the Sacramento area explained.