The number of people signing contracts to buy homes climbed in California and other western states in July, but this was not enough to assuage the growing fears of industry experts. The number of new residential real estate contracts across the country as a whole fell in July for the fourth time in five months, and analysts are putting the blame on dwindling supplies rather than unfavorable economic conditions. A robust and growing economy, healthy employment figures and low mortgage interest rates continue to fuel the demand for houses. However, buyers in many of the nation’s most active markets are finding few suitable properties to choose from.
The inventory of houses for sale in the United States has fallen by a worrying 9 percent over the last year and stood at just 1.92 million at the end of July. Prices rise when supplies are constrained, and the latest figures from organizations like the National Association of Realtors show that the average house price in the United States has increased recently by 6.2 percent to $258,000. These reports are especially concerning for experts as they reveal that residential real estate prices are climbing far more quickly than wages.
According to the NAR, the national median sales price of a house in the United States has increased by 38 percent over the past five years. However, hourly earnings only rose by about 12 percent during the same period. Nevertheless, the organization still expects home sales in 2017 to increase by a modest 0.7 percent.
Developers who wish to take advantage of supply shortages must complete their projects quickly, and this often involves overcoming regulatory, permit and legal issues. Attorneys with experience in this area may help developers to avoid potentially disastrous delays by addressing zoning, land use and title issues promptly. Lawyers could also seek to settle litigation expeditiously to prevent disruptions and keep projects on track.