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The Incredible Shrinking U.S. Housing Supply

By Dan Green

Data from the National Association of REALTORS® shows that buyers are facing a shortage of available housing; Mortgage rates are improved for the fourth day out of five; and, homes are selling about as quickly as they’re getting listed.

Homes For Sale Now Just 1.99% Of All U.S. Homes

Where them homes at? Today’s home buyers aren’t finding them, that’s for sure.

New data from the National Association of REALTORS® shows a 5 percent drop in the number of used homes sold on an annualized basis, marking the biggest one-year drop in Existing Home Sales since three years ago.

But, this headline story is the result of a bit of cause-and-effect. Housing isn’t getting soft.

In this same Existing Home Sales report, under-the-covers data points to ongoing housing strength.

Most notably, home inventory is minuscule right now which is leaving pretty much no homes for U.S. buyers to buy.

At the end of January, there were just 1.5 million single-family homes for sale, representing less than two percent of all U.S. homes, and that’s the fewest homes for sale for a January since NAR has tracked such information.

So yeah, home sales are down. But, it’s hard to buy homes that aren’t for sale.

Click here for today’s mortgage rates.

Today’s Mortgage Rates

Now if we’re talking mortgage rates, you got a perfect one so put it on me.

Because rates are down, for the fourth day out of five. And, that’s good for buyers who pressed the panic button just last week.

Conforming rates, FHA rates, USDA and VA rates which are almost always the cheapest of the bunch — everything’s down.

And you can get your rate even lower by choosing to pay discount points with your mortgage but you might not want to.

You might want to use your lender’s zero-closing cost option instead.

There’s no best way to get a rate and put it together so talk to your lender for help with what’ll work best for you.

Click to get today’s mortgage rates.

43% Of Homes Selling In 30 Days Or Less

There was another nugget tucked inside the NAR Existing Home Sales report for January and that’s that 43% percent of all homes listed for sale sold within 30 days of going on the market.

That’s nearly half of all homes and that’s a lot.

It also points to one the biggest challenges for today’s buyers of homes. You’ve somewhat lost the ability to sleep on a decision to bid on a home, or pass on it.

The best thing you can do, then, is just be prepared.

Buying a home is an emotional thing. Be prepared and you’ll likely to make better choices.

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Written by Dan Green

Dan Green is a mortgage lending expert and the founder of Growella. Prior to Growella, Dan was a six-time, top-producing loan officer; and, ranked repeatedly among the top 1% of loan officers nationwide. Dan's home buying expertise has been in print and on TV with The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Forbes, CNBC, and others.

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