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Posted on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

Unusually low housing stock causes bidding wars and price jumps nationwide

By Lizzy Alfs

The number of homes for sale across the country is at the lowest levels since 1999, leading to bidding wars and a surge in prices, the New York Times reports.


The number of homes for sale nationwide is at the lowest level since 1999.

Courtney Sacco |

Sale prices rose 7.3 percent nationwide in 2012, with hard-hit areas like Sacramento and Phoenix up 15 percent or more.

When a house is listed for sale, it is often snatched off the market in a matter of days and buyers are willing to pay above listing price. Inventory is low because the economy is improving and more people are looking to buy, but still, many homeowners are reluctant to put their houses up for sale, the report says.

Washtenaw County is no exception: Sale prices in January were up 33.7 percent over the same period last year, and many house hunters and Realtors are frustrated with the county’s lack of inventory.

Meanwhile, new home construction is making a comeback and U.S. housing permits are at their highest level since 2008.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Sat, Mar 23, 2013 : 11:33 a.m.

Investors are creating another false bubble. Beware! You will lose your behind if you fall for this crud again.


Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

Just because the Realtors and the press say it's so, doesn't make it so. Yah, prices may be up somewhat, but that is because buyers are bidding over the listing price, which is still way below what the values used to be.

Stupid Hick

Fri, Mar 22, 2013 : 12:51 a.m.

Good work, this seems more neutral than a previous article on the same topic.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

Can this be correct that January to January sales prices are up 33.7%???


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 8:20 p.m.

Don't count out on the Realtors, they'll tell you if you don't buy today you'll not be able to buy tomorrow, just another cycle.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 6:06 p.m.

The valuation on my assessment didn't go up at all this year. On the other hand, this is the first year in the last five that the valuation hasn't dropped. This sounds like a lot of hogwash and hype, generated by real estate agents looking to churn the market a bit.

say it plain

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 6:01 p.m.

Wait, so Ann Arbor isn't special anymore? This 'low inventory' is happening everywhere? Banks withholding, obviously, and sellers waiting til they can feel some profit coming their way, and so on and so forth. Annoying, but not surprising. And it should NOT signal a return to the ol' realtor-rhetoric of "better hurry hurry and buy, or you'll never be able to!". But it probably will, especially if the media helps it along with some implication that housing is somehow now becoming 'scarce'.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

Give a person a gun and they can rob a bank. Give a person a bank and they can rob the world.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 6:13 p.m.

Is that a quote from someone or did you come up with it yourself ? If you did you should copyright it


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

It's more like, banks are holding on to inventory to manipulate supply to raise prices.


Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 4:49 p.m.

If they can't cheat on the money side, they will cheat on the supply side.

Dog Guy

Thu, Mar 21, 2013 : 4:14 p.m.

Large banks sequestering foreclosures (for future rental?) have lowered the housing supply while demand has remained steady. As Myron Cohen put it, "Everybody gotta be someplace." So prices are rising.