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Tough news for frustrated buyers

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis August 26, 2013 09:42 AM

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This is bad news for anyone terrified that home and condo prices may be spiraling out of control once again, especially in already pricey Greater Boston. Listings of homes and condos for sale are likely to keep falling into 2014, when the inventory shortage may finally hit bottom.

That's the word from Calculated Risk's Bill McBride. Inman News caught up other day with the economics blogger extraordinaire. The former tech executive, who was out front in calling the housing bubble in 2005, doesn't see  the shortage in housing inventory hitting bottom until next year.

In fact, when you look just at existing home sales (screening out new homes) the number of listings on the market has plunged by 20 percent over the past 15 months, McBride tells Inman News.

That's a jarring contrast to some of the happy talk we have been hearing from more market-driven real estate industry groups and players, who are predicting a leveling off of prices as more sellers enter the market.

A lot of this seems suspiciously like pap aimed at preventing frustrated buyers from bolting the market - and trying to scare would-be sellers off the fence.

We face an even tougher situation here in Massachusetts, with new home construction only slightly above the record low hit in 2011, when less than 5,000 single-family home permits were issued across the state.

Builders aren't riding to the rescue with new homes, with most Boston area towns and suburbs are highly resistant to new housing of just about any type, except maybe teardowns to make way for McMansions.

The inventory crisis is only going to get worse before it gets better. And who knows where prices will be by the time that happens?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com 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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