The biggest barrier to a more robust spring housing market is simply a lack of listings, and there may be even fewer than we think, at least fewer homes people want to buy.
Nearly three-quarters of the homes on the market are "stale," which is to say that they have sat on the market for more than a month with little to no interest from buyers, according to a new report from Redfin.
The number of homes for sale rose 2 percent in March from a year ago, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors released Wednesday. That, however, includes both new listings and homes that have languished on the market for months. With demand and sales increasing, there is just a 4.6-month supply of listings; a six-month supply is considered to be a healthy market balance between buyers and sellers.
Of course, all real estate is local, but even in the most sought-after neighborhoods, some houses sit. In the Chevy Chase, neighborhood of Washington, D.C. (not to be confused with the Maryland suburb with the same name), which boasts the top schools in the district, inventory is down 24 percent from a year ago, according to Long and Foster. And yet one home there has been on the market since the end of February.
"Everyone loves it; it's the price," said Ghada Barakat, the Long and Foster listing agent for the property.
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After starting at $1.45 million, the seller, a builder who renovated and is flipping the four-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom home, lowered the price to $1.395 million, which is now bringing more interest. Still, at the higher price points, even in this competitive area, it is hard to sell.