At this point, many in the real estate agency have heard the ways in which the lightning-fast seller’s market of 2021 is moving. From multiple offers in the first day to outright real estate bidding wars, extremely low inventory is playing a major role in driving prices up. While individual sellers may be excited to receive strong returns on their homes, many of them must also find a home to purchase as they move on, so there are both challenges and opportunities in this market.
Low inventory is not a desirable situation for almost anyone, however; prices may go artificially high if people are buying out of desperation not because they really see the home as accurately valued by the price. While it may take more time than any of us would like to remedy the current situation, here are some of the levers that could move us toward more normal inventory, according to Homelight’s survey of top real estate agents this spring.
One positive hope is that sellers who were nervous about selling during the height of COVID-19 will see the promising roll-out of the vaccine as a reason to go ahead and list their homes. While they are still taking a leap of faith if they have to buy in this market, there are some options for them: some homebuyers are agreeing to rent-backs, where the past owners have a bit more time to move out, and others are choosing to rent an apartment or other rental property to ride out this market for a few months or even more.
Another opportunity, especially as housing markets feel increasingly out of reach for modest-income buyers, is to create more townhouses and condos. These developments generate more new homes per acre of land and spread out of the cost of that land, so they stay fairly affordable. With builders facing lumber shortage and therefore high prices, there can be benefits to shared living communities like townhouses and condominiums.
Regulations of various kinds could help ease the inventory shortage. Making permitting easier for new construction builders, removing costly fees that sellers currently pay when they sell their home, and new tax credits for homebuyers could all motivate movement in the market that would reduce fierce competition over every home that pops onto the market.
Another way that the inventory crisis could ease up would be with better coordination between real estate agents and home builders. When builders know that their new builds are in-demand in the market and will sell fast, it’s easier to invest in full new developments without fear. Agents can bring valuable insight into the factors that make new construction appealing, and with their help, both builders and agents can reap the benefits of more people getting into their new homes.
Some combination of these factors is likely to occur in a given region, but what will truly trigger enough consumer confidence to boost inventory is not entirely clear. However, for people looking to sell their home sometime soon, it can be a valuable time to capitalize on excellent price outlooks and competitive contracts; this is even more true if you have a plan for how to keep your own costs down wherever you are moving next.
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