"Inventory," "low inventory," "multiple offers," "low," "high," "strong," "new" -- these words paint a clear picture of an unbalanced housing market, one where buyers are competing for too-few homes for sale. They were standouts in a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which measures Realtor confidence every month; NAR used the additional comments section of the March Realtors Confidence Index to create this word cloud. Inventory has been named the no. 1 problem in the housing market for more than a few months, and the problem just seems to be getting more acute. One major contributing factor to the state of the market is the fact that fewer homeowners seem interested in selling -- they're staying put. But why? First: Is this really happening? It's not just your imagination. Real estate economists agree that a number of factors are discouraging sellers from moving -- or encouraging them to stay put, depending on your perspective. ...
- Most sellers are also hoping to buy, so they are facing the same market constraints as buyers.
- Housing supply has not kept up with demand because building has become increasingly expensive.
- Rising mortgage rates and equity concerns could be encouraging homeowners to stay put and renovate.
- Agents need to focus on educating clients (both buyers and sellers) and think outside the box when looking for listings.