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For Twin Cities Home Buyers, Low Inventory Means Quick Turnaround

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- If you are looking to sell your home right now, you likely won't have a problem -- but if you're looking to buy, that's an entirely different story.

Inventory for existing homes across the Twin Cities is very low right now, and not likely to get better any time soon.

"Just seeing the number of people who are trying to buy a home now, it's crazy. I love it. It's great," said real estate agent Ilya Zderchuk of Coldwell Banker Burnet.

No one knows that better than realtors like Zderchuk. He recently listed a St. Paul home for just under $200,000. What happened next was a real estate agent's dream.

"So I listed it on a Thursday around 9:30. Around 11:00, I got 38 showing requests on that home and we were in contract that night," said Zderchuk.

The numbers don't lie. In the past it wasn't unheard of to see more than 20,000 existing homes for sale in the Twin Cities. Right now, there are only about 11,000 available -- a full 20 percent drop from last year.

"I've never seen it quite like this. It seems like every month I wonder how it can get lower, and then the next month I find out," said Herb Tousley of the University of St. Thomas.

Housing experts like Tousley believe that there are a couple of reasons for the existing home shortage. One is that renters are realizing that in some cases, it's more expensive to rent than buy. Another reason -- interest rates are still relatively low.

"As homebuilders add more homes, I think it will be a better supply situation than it is right now," Tousley said. "Is it going to be what used to be considered normal? Probably not."

Tousley thinks it'll take some time before it all evens out, forcing realtors like Zderchuk to get creative when trying to find homes for his clients.

"What I started to do is ask my buyers: 'Pick a couple streets that you like that you want to live in, and I just door knock," said Zderchuk.

Speaking of new builds that could help with inventory, the builders association of the Twin Cities says year to date permits are up 25 percent over 2016.

This comes after about five years or relatively flat permit numbers.


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