Realtors Help Buyers Find Homes in Low Inventory Markets

July 23, 2014 by Sarah Kestler 
The start of the busy spring buying season means a growing number of Americans are on the hunt to purchase a home, but many could have trouble finding a home to buy. A new survey by the National Association of Realtors® reveals for the first time that difficulties finding the right property have surpassed challenges obtaining financing as the most cited reason clients are not purchasing homes.

This finding speaks to the tightened inventory conditions seen in many areas of the country. There simply aren’t enough homes available to purchase — predominantly at the low end of the market, where first-time buyers are most likely to shop.
“There’s more demand than inventory, which has pushed up home prices to levels above what many first-time buyers are comfortable spending,” said Dave Ferguson. “People spend countless hours going through the process of obtaining a loan and locating their perfect home only to find themselves competing in a bidding war.”

Fortunately, the market is showing signs of improvement. Housing inventories increased in April, rising 16.8 percent to 2.29 million existing homes available; this represents a 5.9-month supply, up from a 5.2 month supply in March. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says a housing supply of over 6 months is needed for a generally balanced market between home buyers and sellers. He predicts that we will continue to see a balancing act between housing inventory and price growth, and that more inventory and increased new-home construction will help to foster healthy market conditions.
In Ada County single family home sales for June were 798, a decrease of 3% compared to June 2013. YTD total sales are down 2% compared to this time last year; 3,682 homes sold compared to 3,776.

In June 76% of our total sales were for homes priced above $160,000.

In June sales of homes in the $300,000 – $400,000 were up 25% from May 2014 to 140. This category had the greatest sales increase month-over-month and was the third highest sales category behind $120,000 – $160,000 and $160,000 – $200,000.

Days on Market for June were 46; one day less than last month. In June 2013, Days on Market was 46.
So the future is looking brighter, but what should potential buyers looking to enter the market now do to increase their chances of finding their dream home?

Ada County Association of REALTOR (ACAR) suggests buyers carefully evaluate their finances and get prequalified or preapproved for a mortgage. “You’ll be able to make a firm commitment to buy and your offer will be more appealing to the seller,” said Ferguson.

Making a clean offer with as few contingencies as possible can also help buyers who find themselves competing with multiple bidders. “The best offer isn’t always the one with the highest price,” said Ferguson. “It’s the one with the fewest hassles and restrictions.” Eliminating or reducing the number of contract contingencies, through things like pre-offer inspections, can help make your offer stronger.

Most importantly, ACAR recommends working with a Realtor®. “Prospective buyers should look for a RealtorÒ who is familiar with the areas and neighborhoods they are considering,” said Ferguson “A Realtor®’s unique knowledge and insight to local markets can’t be replicated by simply searching online. They can provide valuable advice, discuss listings, show you homes in person, negotiate on your behalf and help you stay focused on the emotional and financial issues that are most important.”

Consumers who want the most accurate, up-to-date property listings in their area should also visit realtor.com®, said Ferguson. Together, Realtors® and realtor.com® can give buyers the advantage they need in today’s market and help make their dream home happen.

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