The 3 biggest challenges that homebuyers face in 2016

A survey conducted by the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents sheds lights on the 2016 housing market as perceived in the eyes of homebuyers and the agents representing them.

The March 2016 report is a compilation of anecdotal insights (revealed anonymously) from association members nationwide who weighed in on their experiences, the obstacles they currently face and their vision for what’s shaping up to be a highly competitive market — advantage, sellers.

The survey results highlight three challenges consistently reported by buyer agents across the country:

Lack of inventory

Many buyers are having to bring their A game to the negotiation and closingtables, and that includes getting creative with concessions in addition to matching or exceeding aggressive price points. Some markets are experiencing five-year listing number lows amid “crushing demand.”

“We’ve got bidding wars,” one member said.

“Hard to find a house, and when they do they may have to fight for it,” another noted. “Getting a down payment and having money for your own closing costs will be a huge advantage.”

A respondent in the Washington, D.C., metro area described an environment driven by multiple-contract offerings, making it difficult even for active searchers to secure the right home.

In some markets, entry-level homebuyers may be getting hit the hardest. A survey participant in Northern California noted that homes within the region’s lower level price points ($500,000 to $750,000) are seeing multiple offers and sales over asking prices, whereas mid-range homes that are one step up seem to be reaching a better state of equilibrium, with property values and the total number of buyers compressing.

Inventory appears to be particularly tight in New England, where “mechanicals, wells and septics continue to age.”

Will builders help to fill the void? Buyer agents say it’s possible that new construction could contribute to easing some of the market’s instability, but some are questioning the quality of the finished products.

Prices on the rise

It’s rare for buyer agents in this market to find the great deals of yesteryear, a reflection of the economic recovery and post-housing crisis era. Some agents, however, are seeing first-time buyers priced out of the market entirely or squeezed out into the inventory edges.