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SAN FRANCISCO -- In today’s sizzling housing market, the first challenge for prospective buyers like Lisa Swelha is simply finding houses for sale.
“Inventory is just so low right now that we just don’t have very many things to go look at that are suited,” Swelha said.
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Across the country, there is a rush to buy. In 2011, houses for sale were on the market an average 84 days. This year, it’s just 45 days.
“We have more buyers currently than we do homes for sale -- supply and demand -- you have a strong seller’s market,” Swelha’s real estate agent, Cindy Wilson, says.
In Point Richmond, California, where Wilson has listings, prices have almost recovered from their steep fall in 2008. Nationally, prices in February were up 5.8 percent, the sharpest rise in more than two-and-a-half years.
Sharp spikes have been seen in cities across the country.
In Minneapolis, the median price of a home is now $224,000 -- up 17 percent since the housing bust in 2008. In Dallas, prices rose 48 percent to $230,000, and in Denver they’re up 71 percent to $330,000.
“It’s almost a boom going on again in the housing market,” Ken Rosen of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics says. He believes this boom won’t lead to a bubble.
“It’s red-hot housing market, but remember it’s bouncing off of a 30-year low in home-ownership rates that we had in 2016 -- so a lot of people have delayed buying,” Rosen says.
Mortgages are also harder to get and require larger down payments than during that earlier boom, and the recent uptick in interest rates is providing a push to get into the housing market now.