It’s a pillar of the American dream: the white picket fence, the downtown condo, the lake house.
No matter what it looks like, buying a place to call home is considered a major achievement in our society. But it’s an achievement that’s getting, well, harder to achieve, and it all comes down to money.
Right now, there are a lot of people looking to buy a new home, and almost nobody looking to sell one.
It’s a major supply and demand imbalance that has sent prices soaring.
On the demand side, historically low-interest rates are making homeownership more affordable to more people, but they’re also creating stiff competition and bidding wars, where homes commonly sell for up to 30 percent more than the asking price. Sometimes, buyers are even offering cash.
While that’s good news for whoever is selling the house, it often means the buyers who don’t have a large down payment saved up can no longer place a competitive offer and end up priced out of the market.
That phenomenon encouraged more people to build their own homes. However, even home building is getting out of reach. Land, construction, and labor costs have all spiked this year.
There are also issues on the supply side.
Some believe overly restrictive local land and zoning laws limit housing availability and drive up the price.
Others blame investors, who are buying up an increasing share of available homes. New data from Redfin shows they bought 1 in 7 homes in the first quarter of the year.
So, what’s the solution?
Most experts agree it’s to build more affordable housing in order to bring more balance to supply and demand and to uphold this pillar of the American dream.