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Valley's current housing market is a 'gold mine' for sellers, a headache for buyers

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Posted at 3:58 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-20 16:16:52-05

PHOENIX — Maricopa County's shortage of homes for sale is leading to incredibly busy open houses for real estate agents and discouraging days for buyers.

Arizona is a seller's market, meaning the demand for houses far outweighs the supply. But the lack of inventory available for homes to buy makes it very difficult for buyers to put in offers, and have them accepted.

"[Thursday] we had a listing go live. One day on the market, 50 showings, 31 offers,” said Justin Schlegel, broker, and agents at RHP Real Estate in Phoenix. "People are having to write six, eight offers before they get one accepted."

Schlegel said on that day, the home was open from 8:00 in the morning until 7:30 p.m., with people streaming in and out of the home nonstop. He says this is a byproduct of too many buyers but not enough homes to go around.

"It’s slim pickings and it’s really challenging for buyers," said Bryce Schotz, agent of the You Call The Schotz Team of West USA Realty. "Right now people give me criteria that, a couple months ago, would be normal criteria, they’re looking for a specific price point, specific neighborhood, and number of bathrooms, I pull up the market and there might be none."

According to MLS listings, there were 2,525 active homes for sale in Maricopa County, a county with a population of just under 5,000,000 people. For buyers like David Herrera, just looking at a home and putting in an offer is very difficult.

"The minute we get to the property there’s already a line out the door," said Herrera. "[We're outbid by] $30,000 to $40,000 a piece on each one, man. It sucks, it really does suck."

According to these agents, factors for a lack of inventory are low-interest rates, so people are more active in buying, more people moving from other states to Arizona, and fewer homes owned by people, and more owned by investment groups.

"A lot it stems back from, in my opinion, eight to ten years ago. People were quick to take the cash offers from the hedge funds or the real estate investment trusts," said Schlegel. "Thousands of homes are owned by them that would normally be in the hands of our occupants and cycling through and so we have a lack of inventory that’s just insane."

Schlegel and Schotz both stress staying positive if you're a buyer, and don't get discouraged if it takes longer than expected to find a home. Herrera has only been looking for a month and a half, and is already slightly discouraged, but said he's hoping to find that "diamond in the rough" house for him and his family.

"I got a wife and four kids myself so it’s one of those things where we want to get something where we have our own spot, our own place to call our own you know," said Herrera. "My motivation is my family."