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Study: home buyers cite concern over low inventory levels

Home buyers in the market right now are drawn by low prices and interest rates, but express concern over low inventory levels.

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Home buyer survey results

According to a new quarterly survey by Redfin.com, of people planning to buy in the next year, over half are already under contract on a purchase or planning to be under contract within the next three months, citing expectations of flat housing prices and low interest rates. Redfin reports that over half expect prices to rise in 2013 from 2012 levels, with only 10 percent expecting continued price decreases.

The company received feedback from 1,457 people who had toured a home with a Redfin agent since January 1st across 19 major metropolitan areas, with a consensus that affordability in the form of low interest rates and low home prices are the top drivers for today’s buyers, but they fear low inventory levels. Many respondents expressed frustration at the condition of distressed listings and frustration over negotiating with a bank.

According to Redfin, “The concern about inventory isn’t just a by-product of survey wording. When we asked a free-form question about what surprised our customers the most this year, more than 30% commented on low inventory. Many customers focused on how suddenly the laws of supply and demand tilted away from buyers:

  • Multiple offers started appearing from the beginning of this year, January in fact, compared to November and December last year.
    Sudden demand. I think increased buyer confidence is driving prices up and even starting bidding wars.
  • There’s a palpable new climate now, with seemingly many motivated buyers ready to buy. Nearly everything I see go up–good or just ok–is moving very quickly.
  • What our own agents have noticed is that competition has come not just to picture-perfect cottages in desirable neighborhoods but also run-of-the-mill listings. Many homes that failed to sell last fall are just now being re-listed, often only at a nominally different price — $5,000 less for example — and then going under contract the week of their debut.”

The shifting American Dream

Redfin CEO, Glenn Kelman expressed surprise that a third of all respondents “were pursuing the American Dream alone,” in light of his “reading so much about the fragmentation of the American family.” While 67 percent intend to buy a home with a spouse, 15 percent intend to buy alone and live alone, 11 percent plan to buy alone yet live together, and 3 percent intend on purchasing with roommates (and another 3 percent said other).

During their home search, most responded that they were currently renting an apartment or someone else’s house, with Redfin noting that “The high proportion of renters among our customers may just reflect the tendency of Redfin’s buyers to be young.” Kelman added, “But I think it also shows that in a market in which prices may be near a bottom, the people who want to buy the most are the ones who don’t also have to sell. My guess is that there is probably a broader youth movement among American home-buyers.”

Kelman reports that despite Americans underwater is roughly 25 percent, under 1 percent of respondents had a foreclosure or short sale in their history, opining that “it will take many years for these would-be home-buyers to come back. When they do come back, we’ll let you know.”

Tara Steele is the News Director at The American Genius, covering entrepreneur, real estate, technology news and everything in between. If you'd like to reach Tara with a question, comment, press release or hot news tip, simply click the link below.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Charlotte Investor

    March 2, 2012 at 4:34 am

    The real estate market has still not started recovering yet-it seems like. I have a home that I bought about 6 years ago, and I have lost money on it and so I am eagerly waiting for the home prices to climb.

    There seem to be signs that this will happen soon. The rents to properties have gone up so much recently, that it seems ridiculous how much you have to pay for a small apartment. The home prices have come down so much that you can now find many real estate deals out there. Coupled the two together, seem to make me thing that soon people will realize that it is a much better deal to go buy a house than continuously be paying rents to someone else and never own anything. It seems like the time is soon that people will start to say that, and then a lot of people still start buying houses again.

    • Lani Rosales

      March 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      Do you think that depends upon the city or is that your take for the general scene across the nation? Would love to hear your thoughts!

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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zillow move

zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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