Real estate

Buyers beware

Tight supplies have made house hunting difficult for Carrie and Rich Garfield. The couple has lost out in three bidding wars on homes in Newton and Belmont.
Tight supplies have made house hunting difficult for Carrie and Rich Garfield. The couple has lost out in three bidding wars on homes in Newton and Belmont.Credit: Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

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Rich and Carrie Garfield are still suffering from sticker shock after entering the housing market in the spring and getting outbid three times for homes -- even after offering as much as 20 percent over the listed price.

Real estate agents and brokers say buyers should expect more of the same as the fall selling season gets underway after the Labor Day holiday. Factors that left the Garfields disappointed in the spring are still in play: low inventories of homes for sale, strong pent-up demand from the recent recession, and fears that mortgage rates are only headed higher.

These factors have already helped push median sales prices above the 2005 peak in more than 60 Massachusetts communities, according Warren Group, a real estate tracking firm.

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