Going fast: Strong demand has melted away inventory in some housing markets
April Buying Advice: With investors and first-time buyers vying for bargains, homes are being snatched up as soon as they hit the market.
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Prices may not be shooting up, but homes are once again selling at a rapid clip in many markets, draining multiple-listing services and turning up the competitive pressure on buyers. Yep, that's right: Multiple offers are back.
In this installment of Buying Advice, we'll check in on these tight housing markets at the start of the spring selling season. (You can see the 10 tightest major housing markets around the country in this slide show.)
We'll also round up the latest national housing statistics and answer a reader's question on whether it's prudent to rent out the home he can no longer afford and try to get a mortgage for a more affordable smaller house.
(For next month's column: Buyers, has a low appraisal kept you from purchasing a home? Have you lost a home to an all-cash investor this season? Please share your experiences with us at email@example.com.)
Dude, where's my house?
In markets such as Portland, Ore.; Memphis, Tenn.; Seattle; and Salt Lake City, listings are practically evaporating as they come on the market.
"There's not an awful lot out there for sale," says Niels Brownlow, a broker with Coldwell Banker Barbara Sue Seal in Portland — especially, he says, on the lower end, as investors and first-time buyers vie for bargains.
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"'If (a buyer) is not there the first day a home comes on the market, it's gone," Brownlow says. Indeed, Brownlow says he recently had someone make an offer on a condo in Portland's downtown area without even seeing it.
Portland's neighbor to the north, Seattle, is also getting highly competitive, as 36% of the inventory has melted off the market, according to data from Realtor.com. (Realtor.com is an MSN Real Estate partner.)
"I'm seeing multiple offers on just about every one of my listings," says Jed Kliman, with Windermere Realty.
The competitive environment has already begun to nudge prices up in some coveted Seattle neighborhoods such as Ballard and Queen Anne.
- MSN Money: Is affordable housing a myth?
Indeed, a lot of what's left for buyers in hot markets such as Salt Lake City is "junk parts," says Dave Winters of Re/Max Associates. "When a quality property that is priced accurately comes out on the market, it's not going to sit around."
Bargain prices and historically low interest rates are bringing buyers back. The belief among buyers, agents say, is that the housing market has already turned the corner and that there won't be a better time to land an affordable home.
However, a lot of potential sellers still can't list their homes at today's prices because they are underwater on their mortgages, says Mark Fleming, chief economist for property analytics firm CoreLogic. That has kept supply in check. Moreover, the flow of foreclosures and other distressed properties onto the market has slowed considerably after the robo-signing controversy and as loan-modification and rental programs have been expanded. As a result, buyers are fighting over those decent properties that are left. In some cases, they are even competing with foreign buyers who see cheap U.S. real estate as a once-in-a-lifetime rental investment.
"We are seeing buyers from New Zealand, Switzerland and from the U.K. here," says Rita Driver, an agent in Memphis. "I'm winding up with more multiple offers now than I have in the last five years."
- On our blog, 'Listed': Is housing near that elusive bottom?
Just how long this scarcity will last is anyone's guess. Already, Winters says, he is picking up more listings in Salt Lake City from sellers looking to capitalize on the shortage.
This scarcity — and rising prices in half of the markets that Fleming's firm studies — should urge banks and other sellers to list more properties in coming months as the selling season and temperatures heat up. "This will bring people off the sidelines," Fleming says.
this is all they got... hype it up again!
answer me this, if this story is so true, why do I hear commercials from home builders (seattle -puget sound area) notifying potential buyers they will rent their current home for 3 yrs. if they will buy one of our homes we just built? and my neighbor was a foreman for many years building houses and he was just laid off last month. (3/3012)
Isn't this how we got in to trouble last time?
Sounds like it is starting all over again.
It all comes down to one thing...are you tired of the rich getting all the bailouts and us working men getting nothing? Take a look at what I found and see why the rich are trying to hide this for themselves. G00GLE the term ' FAST MARKET CASH ' all one term and click the first site. Go right to the 'PENNY STOCK' page to see what the rich don't want you to know. It is time your family lives the good life and this will help.
with the house and the next day we were told they accepted a different offer they got that morning. When talking to a realtor he said "every realtor has an investor in their back pocket that they call when a good deal comes on the market." Save it for the people looking for the 'American Dream' that don't want to rent anymore from
I know the feeling. My husband and I made an offer the first day the house was on the market. We fell in love with the house and the next day we were told they accepted a different offer they got that morning. When talking to a realtor he said "every realtor has an investor in their back pocket that they call when a good deal comes on the market." Save it for the people looking for the 'American Dream' that don't want to rent anymore from the corporate man.
Another house we liked now has a for rent sign in front of it because and investor got it first.
We just can't seem to get a house!
What is it with these comments? It's silly to look at it as a conspiracy of some kind. I have to wonder what kind of education people are getting, to take on a loan they can't afford if an emergency arises? Just because it's offered doesn't mean it's good for you. Blaming the bank (or the media) is like blaming McDo for making you fat or burning you with their coffee. Jeeez, check it out for yourself!
l_duttinger, You can't prevent anyone with money buying wherever they want to. I live in a French farmhouse now; they were happy to take our money when we bought it twenty years ago, and thrilled by the money we spent to restore it. And no, I'm not rich. I live on less than $25K/yr.
Well I GIVE UP! The rich are taking everything they can and no one seems to question how they are doing it. I KNOW! Do you want to see how they are getting a ton of cash for their stock budgets? Google the term "FAST STOCK BUDGET" and go to the first site or right to the site with the same name. They have a penny stock page that shows what the rich don't want you to see. If you are tired of being poor and want in on the action, then this is a must see. Be prepared to see how the other half lives.
ee the actual graphs and data on these sales. The media helped to put us in this funk, now it's trying to lie again. There's still a multitude of foreclosures in the pipes. No one is lending. And stop giving our land to foreigners with cash. If this is true, everyone
NBO4, why would you be surprised? We bought our first home (2br bungalow) in Seattle in 1970 for $14,500, then rented it when we bought a larger one (4br classic box) in 1974 for $35,500. We sold the first for $140K in 1989, and I see that it sold in '09 for 389K! We sold the second for $344K in 1996. Zillow tags it at $748K now, though they said close to $900K at the peak of the bubble.
We bought a studio condo for $50K in 1989. Its twin unit sold for 135K last year. The rental ($895/mo) is part of my retirement income. Real estate is a good investment, if you do it wisely. We bought the bungalow zero down, VA, but we didn't get in over our heads. When I finished school and went to work, we could afford the second, and the rental helped make the payments.
I am a Real Estate Broker IN SEATTLE of 35 Years and I have never seen anything like this before...
I predicted in 1993 that we would see interest rates at 3.5% for a 30 year fixed rate and they all laughed. I predicted that a home in Kent of 1100 SQ FT would reach $160,000 by the year 2002 when it was only $80,000 at the time - They went over $200,000 by the year 2002. They all laughed again....
Do Not Laugh Again ! LISTEN and HEAR
BIG GOVERNMENT (DOD) NOW CAN ARREST YOU - PLACE YOU IN JAIL WITHOUT A TRIAL - And that folks IS A FACT in the USA !
Realty BROKER says.... People who buy now are going to get Slaughtered unless they buy with Cash.
This is a False Bottom. Geralde Celente Is Correct !
I Predict Lower Prices as Economy Is Still Unstable - Possible Wars on Horizon with US Involvement - Maybe even on our own soil sometime soon. The World Hates US. - CHINA Is testing US and N. Korea is Not Just Playing Games... They will soon have Deliverable Nuclear Weapons to Strike Anywhere in the USA. N. KOREA has nothing to lose by Striking the USA. They will be Fully capable within one Year from Today !
The Dollar Is Collapsing - We Have Inflation leading to Hyper Inflation - A Good Thing eventually for those who own Real Property - but inflation is being artificially held back by the Feds and Elite for now and that's not a Good Thing.
The Dam will burst and all Hell will bust loose.
Wages are falling - Prices of Consumables are rising Quickly. The last Blog I wrote was in 2008, - I told people not to buy homes now. One lady said I was Nuts and needed to get ahold of Myself. - Too bad for her she has lost nearly $200,000 on the home she bought then.
OK - I can see the skepticism. The Sky is Falling - I Know but, folks - it's really happening.
Yes, I will buy again, eventually and Yes, it's OK but, only buy a home affording it with one income if you are married.
Safe bets right now are Condos - even these will drastically move down from already low prices.
My guess is 1979 Pricing before we are done with this insanity and most people won't have money to buy because they aleady bought.
Where are your renters going to be if I am right and we soon have 28-32% unemployment with skyrocketing Food - Fuel.
The USA will lose is Honored Reserve currency Status because we can not as a nation continue the course of Debt. We will have to convert our money like the EU does and Pays the equivelant to $8.00 per gallon of gasoline.
Soooooooooo Go Ahead buy your homes because interest rates are low and watch the bottom drop out - ( THE BIG ELITE AND BANKERS HAVE YOU) right where they want you - In Debt and they can drop the Nuclear Financial Bomb on you and take what you think is yours - unless it is PAID FOR !
I will still sell homes but, I will help people get great values and get homes for bargains.
Eventually this all will end but, not before BIG GOVERNMENT HAS TOTAL CONTROL OVER YOU AND YOUR CHILDRENS CHILDREN FINANCIAL FUTURE.
There are solutions but, America will have to go back to its Roots when it was a Godly Country where People Loved and Cared more about one another than their selfish greed.
You have to vote In Men and Women of Great Honesty and Great Character back into Office, not People Who Pervert Government and Tell You To Shut your Mouth Because they want their Perverted Agendas.
This nation has gotten so off course it soon will be legal to have open Sex In Public Places - God knows in Freamont during Parades People Ride their Bicycles Naked while even children watch. The Gay Parades in Seattle have had people in a circle doing Mock 69 Positions with onlookers. Where is the Decency Seattle Officials and Why aren't these Crimes Being Punished rather than Cheered for ?
I am done now but, please head my words and those of Geralde Celente and the late David Wilkerson !