March 4, 2013
The latest hang up for the Quad Cities housing market isn’t a shortage of qualified buyers; it’s a shortage of homes for sale.
In many local areas, we are seeing multiple offers and not enough homes for sale to fill the need for the number of buyers currently looking. In fact, the current number of homes for sale in the Quad Cities area, according to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), is 1,351 homes – the lowest level since 2001. The Wall Street Journal has reported that nationally listing inventory is at a 13-year low.
“Continued low interest rates, the uptick in the economy and just the normal reasons that families move have spurred more buyers to act now,” said Caroline Ruhl. “Unfortunately, we can’t keep up with the demand. There are just not enough homes for sale right now.”
The Quad Cities continues to be a balanced market, with 5.4 months of inventory. This means it’s a good time to sell and buy because home prices are balanced. With the low inventory locally, home prices are expected to increase to keep up with demand, Ruhl added.
This low inventory is a major factor in the national market, reported Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.
“Buyer traffic is 40 percent above a year ago, so there is plenty of demand but insufficient inventory to improve sales more strongly,” Yun said. “We’ve transitioned into a seller’s market in much of the country. We expect a seasonal rise of inventory this spring, but it may be insufficient to avoid more frequent incidences of multiple bidding and faster-than-normal price growth.”
Nationally, total housing inventory at the end of January fell 4.9 percent to 1.74 million existing homes available for sale, the lowest housing supply since April 2005.
Nationally and here in the Quad Cities, the lack of inventory could turn off potential buyers, impacting the recent recovery in homes sales.
A family-owned company since 1862, Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors has grown to nearly 290 sales associates, 58 employees and eleven offices, selling more than 5,000 homes in eastern Iowa, western Illinois and southwestern Wisconsin. The company has residential sales offices in Bettendorf, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Davenport, DeWitt, Dubuque, Iowa City, Maquoketa and Muscatine, Iowa; and in Moline, Illinois. In addition to residential sales, the company offers services in relocation, property management, real estate investments, new home sales, land development, farm and land sales, senior services, home vendor services, insurance services through the Nelson Brothers Agency and mortgage services through Shelter Mortgage. For more information on Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors, visit their website at www.RuhlHomes.com.