Though this year's real estate market may not look as buyer friendly as it has in recent years, demand is at its highest level since the Great Recession, according to the National Association of Realtors' chief economist, Lawrence Yun. Yun says Americans are feeling more confident about their financial status due to better job prospects and recent stock market gains. That, of course, is positive news. But the flip side of increasing buyer demand is more competition for available homes at a time when for-sale inventory is lower than normal in many markets. “Buyer traffic is easily outpacing seller traffic in several metro areas and is why homes are selling at a much faster rate than a year ago,” Yun says. “Most notably in the West, it's not uncommon to see a home come off the market within a month.” So what does this mean for the spring season?
Well, if you're a prospective buyer, it means you should be ready to move quickly when you find a house you're interested in. It also means you should be on the lookout for rising prices. Where there are more home buyers than available houses, price increases will accelerate. Yun warns that, especially in expensive markets, “prospective buyers will feel this squeeze in their budget and will likely have to come up with additional savings or compromise on home size or location.”