Why There Is A Shortage of Homes For Sale

Many readers of this blog know that I am a real estate agent, and often post home sales statistics here for the Brookside area.  TodayI am writing a post about why there are so few homes for sale on the market in our area.  I was showing some buyers homes for sale this weekend, and they seemed puzzled, saying  ‘we are ready to buy, why aren’t there more homes for us to see?”  It’s true!  Inventory is very low…it’s a big topic of conversation among agents.   Here are  four reasons why:

1)  Sellers don’t have enough equity in their homes.   If a home was  purchased during the  peak buying frenzied  years of 2005 – early 2008 with little or no down payment, chances are the owner could owe  more than the home is worth since the market crashed in late 2008.  Unless  sellers have made substantial improvements, the housing market crash has created  many homes worth less than what is owed.   It will take a few more years of payments  to  make up the loss.   Homeowners do not want to sell at a loss, so they don’t sell.

2)  Many sellers have decided to “stay put”.   The recession affected everyone in the U.S., even those that didn’t lose a job. People are much more careful about spending and borrowing.  Many homeowners are thinking twice about ‘moving up’  to a larger home–they feel they can ‘make do’ where they are, perhaps updating the interior or building an addition on their current house.  A larger home means more expenses regarding utilities, upkeep, and maintenance. Not moving can mean more money for travel, college costs, retirement, etc. A lack of move up buyers means less inventory.

3)  Now that home prices are rising, some sellers may wait for ‘top dollar’ pricing. When potential sellers hear stories of homes going under contract  in one or two days, sometimes with multiple offers, they know this causes an uptick in home prices.  They may be inclined to wait until the market shows several months of rising prices before they decide to jump in and sell.  

4)  The good ones go fast. I’ve seen inventory move quicker this spring than in the past three years.  Well maintained, updated homes in Brookside, Waldo (and Prairie Village) that  are priced well sell within days.  If a buyer thinks they can get away with a  lowball offer  on a newly listed, beautifully updated home in a great location–they will lose out.  In this  busy spring market, buyers have to be ready to write an GOOD offer when the house they want hits the market, or someone else will snatch it up.

It’s encouraging to see home prices  on the rise and buyers are confident about purchasing.  As we get past spring break travel and the Easter holiday, more homes  for sale will hit the market.  This is going to be a great homebuying season, with buyers and sellers feeling much more confident about home values and purchases.  Be ready!

2 thoughts on “Why There Is A Shortage of Homes For Sale

  1. Buyers/Sellers, never cease to be amazed. We bought our home in Waldo in 1974 before our daughters were born and stayed in it until long after they were established in their careers. We had a sale of some of the contents in March 2005 as we downsized to a condo on the Country Club Plaza. It sold as a result of an inquiry when one of our first contents sale customers saw our agent’s sign in our front yard and inquired about it. We promptly referred him to the phone number on her sign.

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