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Frustrated buyers wonder when housing market will get easier

Mitchell Hartman Jun 23, 2021
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Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Redfin

Frustrated buyers wonder when housing market will get easier

Mitchell Hartman Jun 23, 2021
Heard on:
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Redfin
HTML EMBED:
COPY

The housing market right now — coming out of the shutdowns and reopenings of the pandemic — is pretty challenging. That’s especially true for would-be homebuyers.

Existing home sales have fallen for four straight months. New home sales fell for a second consecutive month. Home prices, meanwhile, have skyrocketed over the past year, up 18% for new homes and almost 24% for pre-owned ones.

Is there any light at the end of the homebuying tunnel?

Jimmy Johnson, 29, and his boyfriend are trying to buy their first home in San Antonio, Texas. They looked at a new townhouse, but construction costs are going up and the builder got in touch. “He was like, ‘I just want to make you aware of this: Our base price has gone up about $30,000,'” beyond their price range of $300,000 to $350,000, Johnson said.

Now they’re looking at recently built and renovated houses. “Something will go on the market, 10 people will put offers on it, so that’s been making us a little bit anxious,” Johnson said.

One thing that could help buyers? “The difficulty and expense of building may require some effort by the federal government” to loosen up zoning and land use laws, said Christopher Mayer at Columbia Business School.

Jessica Lautz at the National Association of Realtors sees some promise in redevelopment: “Retrofitting an older vacant motel or hotel, lofts transformed into residential properties.”

And she says there are still “affordable” cities to consider, like Boise, Idaho; Columbus, Ohio; and Nashville, Tennessee.

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