Spring selling season finds little to sell

With the number of homes for sale at a 12-year low, prospective buyers find few options. Multiple offers and sales above asking price are back.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Feb 5, 2013 1:41PM

© Simon Jarratt/CorbisAs the real-estate industry gears up for the traditional spring homebuying season, it is looking as though one key ingredient may be missing: homes for sale.

 

The number of homes for sale was at a 12-year-low at the end of December, according to the National Association of Realtors, and it doesn’t look as if the inventory will grow much in the immediate future.

 

While some would-be buyers who sat out the real-estate bust are now inching into the market, sellers are staying put. Some are waiting for prices to rise more, and some are trapped by mortgages that exceed their home’s worth. Inventory is down 21.6% over the previous year nationwide and as much as 75% in some areas.

 

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That has taken the market back to multiple offers and homes going for higher than the asking price in many popular neighborhoods. Investors, including big private-equity companies, are also sweeping in and scooping up homes for cash, leaving traditional home-buyers who need a mortgage out in the cold.

"There is just no inventory for buyers," said Bob Cilk, an agent with Re/Max Accord in Pleasanton, Calif., to Bloomberg. "There are lots of losers in the marketplace now. When you have multiple offers, there are several losers and only one winner for each home."

Real-estate professionals interviewed by Bloomberg told stories like these: A foreclosed home offered for sale in Washington, D.C., garnered 168 offers and sold for nearly double its asking price of $337,000. In San Ramon, Calif., 70 people stood in line for a lottery to buy for four available houses priced at $729,000 to $989,900.

Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, predicted that it may be another year or two before sellers are ready to get back into the market. To lure sellers, prices need to rise another 5% to 10%, he told Bloomberg.

 

While we may see more increase in inventory in the judicial-foreclosure estates where homes have lingered in the foreclosure pipeline, conditions are unlikely to change much by spring.

 

"Inventories start growing in February and peak in July," said Jed Kolko, chief economist at Trulia, to Bloomberg. "But without even more new construction and more homeowners willing to sell, inventory will stay tight through this housing season."

 

 
14Comments
Feb 23, 2013 5:28PM
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It costs more to rent than to own around here (Sacramento area) so buying just makes more sense if you can qualify for a loan.  
Feb 23, 2013 5:05PM
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Here in Phoenix, we are up 25 % YOY. Will wait some more before I sell my house then leave he country o retire. Nice!
Feb 23, 2013 4:09PM
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"foreclosed home offered for sale in Washington, D.C., garnered 168 offers and sold for nearly double its asking price of $337,000. In San Ramon, Calif., 70 people stood in line for a lottery to buy for four available houses priced at $729,000 to $989,900."

Well DC...  Yeah, insane gov pay / benies...  San Ramon CA, median income 115k...  Yup, housing is fixed, and the little guy is finally getting ahead.
Feb 23, 2013 3:58PM
Feb 23, 2013 3:05PM
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lies lies and more lies every other house has a for sale sign in the front yard.
Feb 23, 2013 3:04PM
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THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS HAS A PROVEN TRACK RECORD OF INFLATING AND CURVING THE FIGURES TO INCITE THIS TYPE OF BEHAVIOR. AT THE HEIGHT OF THE DOWNTURN MSNBC WROTE AN ARTICLE IN WHICH THE NAR ADMITTED TO DOING THIS. WHILE IT IS TRUE THAT IN SOME AREAS INVENTORY IS SELLING, DONT BUY INTO THIS ASSMOKE. REMEMBER THESE VULTURES EARN AT LEAST 6%  ON A REAL ESTATE DEAL- A VERY GOOD REASON TO MISLEAD THE PUBLIC AND INFLATE PRICES. ALSO REMEMBER THAT THESE VULTURES WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN HELPING AND PURSUADING PEOPLE TO BUY ABOVE THEIR MEANS WHICH WAS MOSTLY THE BLAME FOR THE RECESSION. THEIR ONLY INTEREST IS TO LINE THEIR OWN POCKETS, NOT HELP "YOU TO FIND YOUR DREAM HOME"
Feb 23, 2013 2:12PM
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We have page after page of foreclosures in the newspapers and lots of homes for sale in the Kankakee, IL area.
Feb 23, 2013 1:51PM
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I am a Realtor in NY and we aren't seeing this madness yet....but the inventory is very, very thin and anything priced right is flying off the market. So it is only a matter of time before the craziness comes back. Most offers I have placed lately are competing with others.
Feb 23, 2013 12:43PM
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Is it surprising that the group with the most to gain is promoting this propaganda. Realtors profit when they create false panic. Unfortunately too many people watch hgtv and buy into this bull.

Feb 23, 2013 8:49AM
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I wish the was happening here in Bella Vista, AR.  It's getting hard to give away a house, Bentonville & Rogers however, just 10 miles away are both doing fine.  Go figure!
Feb 23, 2013 7:41AM
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Stupid is as stupid does.....you had better be dammed sure that if your bidding way over the asking price that the house is actually worth it...and BTW you also will need to be a cash buyer.....this is the exact same BS that happened in '04-'06 when suddenly houses in a subdivisions jumped 30-50% overnite because of "bidding wars".....Didn't we learn from this the last time?  apparently not.....
Feb 23, 2013 3:10AM
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I have three nice houses for sale in New Bern, N.C. if any of you folks are in the mood to believe this hype.
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