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REwired

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Opinion, commentary and analysis on everything that makes the U.S. housing economy tick -- not to mention the ghosts in the machine, too. Written by HW's team of editors and reporters each business day.

The diary of a frustrated first-time homebuyer

February 28, 2013
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In a recent survey conducted by real estate broker Redfin, 66% of those polled listed low inventory as a high concern. That number is up from 59% in the fourth quarter, which indicates more buyers becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of inventory.

Had I been surveyed, I would have marked the same thing as those 66%. Currently in the home searching process, I can attest to the shockingly low supply of homes on the market. After getting married nearly a year ago, my husband and I have been living in an apartment. However, when our lease runs up in the middle of May, we are hoping to already be moved into a home. This is a hope that seems more and more unrealistic with each week that passes by.

Every morning when I wake up, I diligently check my Redfin mobile app for any new homes that may have magically popped up over night. There’s always one or two that are in our price range, but just lack the specifics of what we need in our first home.

Having a deadline of when we need to be out of our apartment makes it increasingly frustrating when the housing market is slim pickings right now. Each day our lease comes closer to ending, I get more and more nervous that we may not find a house before then.

Not only that, but with each passing day, interest rates continue to inch up. The number one reason my husband and I chose to buy our first home now is low interest rates. It seems we are in the majority, as 58% of those surveyed by Redfin cited low interest rates as their top reason to buy as well. With such a low inventory, it is taking longer for buyers to find a home and the chance of locking in at a higher interest rate becomes more and more inevitable.

While I’m on the vent train, can I just talk about how many offers new listings are getting right now? According to Redfin, many homes are receiving dozens of offers at once. And I believe it. My husband and I found a home we loved three weeks ago, but there were multiple offers placed on the home and it was taken off the market four days later… before we had a chance to take a second look at the property.

So I’ll wrap this up by saying this. As a housing reporter, I applaud the healthy buyer activity happening right now. But as a first time homebuyer, I would like to see more inventory and less competition.

mhopkins@housingwire.com

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