Well, it’s only taken half a decade, but the moribund real estate market is finally starting to show signs of life. If you were thinking about making a move on a piece of property, right now is possibly the best time. You can still take advantage of low prices in most places around the country, and mortgage rates are at once-in-a-lifetime record lows: 30- and 15-year fixed mortgages are around 4% and 3%, respectively.
Although prices are still near 2003 levels, the signs of an impending resurgence are everywhere you look. The number of people signing contracts to buy houses rose by around 4% in March, according to the National Association of Realtors, and is the highest it’s been in nearly two years.
Many would-be homebuyers are surprised to find that one fixture of the bubble era is back: the bidding war. According to a recent survey of 28 housing markets conducted by the Wall Street Journal, there are fewer houses for sale in every single one of those places than there were last quarter. This relatively tight inventory in markets as varied as Sacramento, Phoenix and Washington, D.C., dictate that the law of supply and demand is going to kick in. Even in places like Long Island, N.Y., where there’s still a depressing 16-month buildup of housing supply (realtors consider six months’ worth to be a healthy number), the number of available homes is falling.
Real Estate Bidding Wars Heat Up is brought to you by TReXGlobal.com, maker of the world's easiest Property Management Software.