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Housing shortage ahead?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis October 11, 2012 06:44 AM

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The number of home for sales in Greater Boston is down significantly, falling more than 20 percent over the past year, a new report by Zillow finds.

And the biggest shortage is among lower-priced homes, with inventory for the bottom tier of homes for sale in the Boston area dropping 21.4 percent over the past year. That's followed by a 20.3 percent drop inventory drop in middle-tier homes and a 19.1 percent drop in the number of high-end homes available for sale, Zillow reports.

The drop in homes for sale in Greater Boston is a little higher than the national average, with a 19.4 percent decline in listings over the past year.

First-time buyers are likely to feel the crunch first given the bigger drop in inventory in the lower tier - sorry, not defined by Zillow but I'm checking.

That's particularly bad news. After all, starter homes in the Boston area are already something of a joke - it's often a choice between a fixer-upper closer in and a house in better condition beyond 495.

And things on the inventory front are likely to get worse before they get better, with home sales rebound now surging into the fall.

The number of homes put under agreement jumped 26 percent in September compared to a year before, while pending sales of condos jumped more than 48 percent, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors reported yesterday.

For buyers, there's a lot more to worry about than skimpier listings to look over.

Rising sales and falling inventory are a combination that typically leads to price increases, which we are already starting to see signs of.

And it's unlikely we will see any fresh batch of homes hit the market over the next few months - this may be the pattern until the start of the spring market.

First-time buyers, what are you seeing out there? Any starter homes, good or bad, that got your attention?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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