March 30, 2013 at 6:02 AM
Housing market tuns around, surprises industry
Boom is bust for buyers
I have been following recent news coverage of the “reviving” housing market with considerable and growing dismay, because invariably there is a built-in bias favoring sellers and related industries over homebuyers [“Bust to boomlet: Housing turnaround stuns industry,” News, March 21].
It may be fine for house flippers, investors and tract builders to continue to push prices upward, but for buyers it is a disaster, regardless of the harder-than-ever-to-get low mortgage rates.
We have friends who have been house hunting for months now, and have pre-approval and the means to make a substantial down payment. But there is no inventory, because the banks have been sitting on their growing stock of foreclosed and real estate-owned properties for several years now, in a successful ploy to push prices higher. As a result, every time a buyer finds a house and makes a full price offer, he finds him or herself already out of the running, as investors and flippers muscle him or her out of the way with cash offers, many of them from overseas.
By far, most of the houses now available other than new construction (10 houses per acre now, with no land, no privacy and long travel distances) are short sales. And those, too, have multiple offers. So please start reporting how it is from the buyer’s perspective, which is disastrous.
–Gene Ayres, Lake Forest Park
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