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Low Inventory Drives the Hottest U.S. Markets

rates-bhThe winter cold sent home buyers scrambling for shelter, with home buyers in the beginning weeks of 2017 facing an increasingly scarce home market.

A study from Realtor.com shows housing supply hitting record lows and demand staying strong despite winter traditionally being the slowest time of the year for the market. Homes are selling 4 percent faster in January 2017 than they were this time last year, despite record high prices. The reason? Record low home inventory.

“We saw evidence of a stronger-than-normal off-season starting last September and October due to pent-up demand and surging interest from first-time buyers,” said Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist with Realtor.com. “The downside to this strong off-season is that we have started 2017 with a new low volume of available homes for sale and a new high for prices.”

The site compiled a list of the 20 hottest housing markets in America so far this year, with California leading the nation with 12 including eight in the top 10. San Francisco sits firmly at number 1, with another California city, Santa Rosa, falling seven spots to number 19. The newest entrant to the top 20 list, Tampa, shot up 5 spots from December and is the only Florida market in the top 20.

The site’s experts say the median list price reaches its lowest point in January. However, the current median of $250,000 is holding steady from December and is 10 percent higher than last year; a record for January.

Smoke said buyers are becoming increasingly anxious as mortgage rates continue to rise since the November 2016 election and the Fed’s move to raise a key interest rate last year.

“The threat of rates approaching multiyear highs in the months ahead is creating a sense of urgency,” Smoke said.

To read the list on Realtor.com click here.

About Author: Phil Banker

Phil Banker began his career in journalism after graduating from the University of North Texas. He has covered a number of communities across Texas and southern Oklahoma, writing news and sports for publications including the Ardmoreite, Ennis Daily News and the Plano Star-Courier. He is currently a staff writer for the MReport.

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