The divide between the prices of homes Americans want to buy and the inventory of such homes is growing, suggesting first-time home buyers and high-end sellers might have a difficult year ahead of them.
Across the U.S., 27% of online home searches in the fourth quarter were for starter homes, but only 21% of listings were in that price range, according to Trulia, a real-estate information company.
Meanwhile, just 44% of searches were for luxury listings, while 55% of home listings were priced at the high end.
The findings point to a critical imbalance in the market: There is a significant and growing shortage of lower-priced homes and a glut of high-end ones.
The result is likely to be swiftly rising prices at the low end and challenges for first-time buyers, and sluggish price increases and lingering listings at the top end.
“The big, high-level takeaway is that most Americans are looking for a starter or trade-up home but there are a ton of premium homes on the market,” said Felipe Chacon, a housing analyst at Trulia.