Available houses are hard to find in many markets

Residential housing markets in Illinois and around the country have been heating up in recent months. Borrowing costs remain low despite recent interest rate increases, and the economy continues to grow and create jobs. However, the resulting surge in demand has left the supply of houses extremely thin in many parts of the country. The supply of available homes in the United States has fallen to a level not seen by the National Association of Realtors since the organization began tracking this data in 1999.

The news is especially grim for first-time homebuyers as market forces are pressuring prices upward and making affordable homes extremely hard to find. The financial crisis was a major shock to the residential real estate market, and homeowners have become more cautious as a result. Before the crisis, homeowners put their houses on the market after living in them for about four years. Now, property owners wait an average of eight years before putting their houses up for sale.

Market data suggests that homebuyers have little good news to look forward to. Investors generally buy real estate with long-term goals in mind, and they now own 35 percent of America's single-family homes and condominiums. While home building has picked up in recent years, construction companies say that they are finding it difficult to obtain available land, hire qualified workers and deal with local regulations.

When few houses are offered for sale, buyers who fail to act quickly often miss out. Attorneys with experience in this area may help homebuyers and sellers to complete transactions expeditiously by drafting legal documents in a timely manner and taking steps to avoid common pitfalls.

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