Builders Can't Keep Up with Demand for Homes

The rapid recovery of the housing market has caught America's home builders off guard with record low levels of inventory. The return of "bubblelike price jumps" and bidding wars are causing problems for buyers and sellers alike.
March 22, 2013, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"After six years of waiting on the sidelines, newly eager home buyers across the country are discovering that there are not enough houses for sale to accommodate the recent flush of demand," reports Catherine Rampell. 

"The housing turnaround seems to have caught almost everyone in the business by surprise. As desirable as the long-awaited improvement may be, the unusually low level of homes for sale is creating widespread problems for buyers and sellers alike, leading to bidding wars and bubblelike price jumps in places that not long ago were suffering from major declines."

"In many areas, builders are scrambling to ramp up production but face delays because of the difficulty of finding construction workers and in obtaining permits from suddenly overwhelmed local authorities," she explains. "At the same time, homeowners — many of them lifted above water for the first time in years — often remain reluctant to sell, either because they want to wait and see how much further prices will climb or because they are afraid of being displaced in the sudden buying frenzy."

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Published on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 in The New York Times
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