We have been seeing a lot more buying active here in the St Pete area lately. Our home inventory is at its lowest in 3 years. A year ago we had about 18 months of inventory available for purchase and now we have just 6 months worth. If it gets much lower we will have a seller’s market.  In this last month I have seen where there have been multiple offers on a home and it became a “highest & best offer” situation. One home had 16 offers in 2 days! Not so good for my buyer though. So if the home is priced right, in good condition & NOT a short sale, it sells very quickly. Finding condos with all the buyers’ criteria is even more difficult because of the low inventory and the location that buyers want.

I came across this article which may explain some of the reasons for this situation too. Trying to find homes and condos for renters whether long or short term is very hard this year.

2 bedroom condo for sale with its community pool right on Tampa Bay

Daily Real Estate News | 2012

When you compare the cost of owning a home to renting, you’ll find that buying may make more sense, Paul Diggle, a housing economist at Capital Economics, told MSNBC.com.Diggle’s analysis of the housing market showed a 33 percent drop in home prices, record-low mortgage rates (with 30-year fixed-rate mortgages available under 4 percent now), and a 15 percent rise in rents since the housing market turned sour are making more consumers take a closer look at buying.

“The median monthly mortgage payment of about $700 has fallen to about the level of a median monthly rent check,” an article at MSNBC.com notes about Diggle’s analysis. “If mortgage rates keep falling and rents keep rising, the equation will tip even further toward owning.”

Case in point: Diggle says that a buyer who purchases a median-priced home and stays there for at least seven years would likely come out ahead by about $9,000 than if they chose to rent for those seven years. Diggle’s calculations factor in rents continuing to rise 3 percent a year, and housing prices staying flat for the next two years before rising in 2014.

But while more Americans may be motivated to buy, many still can’t, Diggle notes. Home owners who lost their home to foreclosure may be forced to wait on the sidelines before owning again, other Americans may not have a 20 percent down payment that more lenders are wanting, lack a high credit score to qualify for the best financing, or have steady employment.

Source: “Home Buying Could Soon Beat Renting,” MSNBC.com (Jan. 23, 2012)

What’s it like today in other areas? Are you finding this true as well? I’d be interested in hearing about other areas. Of course, right now while most of the rest of the country and Europe is in the midst of winter, our temperatures range generally from 72 to 80 degrees. With water and beaches only 20 minutes away from the even the middle of our Peninsula, people want to live here.