Friday, May 3, 2013

This in from the NAR


Home sales are “stuck” this spring due to the limited number of homes available to buy, says Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®.

The supply of homes for sale is 17 percent below year-ago levels, according to NAR data.

For-sale inventories are most constrained on the low-end of the housing market, where investors had moved in floods to purchase distressed homes and hold them as single-family rentals, housing experts note. About a four-month supply of homes is available under $100,000. As such, sales of low-end homes have dropped 16 percent from year ago because there just isn’t enough inventory, according to NAR.

Some home owners are still hesitant to sell, noticing the recent price increases and hoping for more, notes Richard Smith, CEO of Realogy Holdings. "If I am underwater in my equity and now suddenly I'm not, but I'm up 5 percent and the market around me is appreciating 6,7,8,9, 10 percent, why don't I wait and perhaps get a 10 percent return on my investment, not a 5 percent return?" Smith explains.

"The housing shortage is going to continue," Yun told CNBC. He says that home builders will need to ramp up their housing starts by 50 percent to help meet demand, but he says that is unlikely due to constraints such as land and labor shortages. 

Rod's Take

This spring really has taken its toll on the housing inventory. Buyers are everywhere but they have no homes to buy. I believe that many sellers are waiting, holding on to their homes in hopes of driving up the market price. This may work temporarily but could backfire if buyers get frustrated and stop looking or if interest rates were to rise. It is still a great time to buy a house but sellers are in control of the market as they control the inventory.

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