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As welcome as a long-awaited improvement in the American housing market may be, the unusually low level of homes for sale is creating problems for buyers and sellers alike

Flagstaff home buyers are coming out to buy in larger numbers than in recent years, but they are “disappointed in what they see for their money,” as one of my colleagues said to me last week. To some extent, that’s an old story in Flagstaff, where home prices drive our cost-of-living index above the national average. Still, coming out of a depressed housing market, buyers are expecting more for their money. Flagstaff sellers, meanwhile, seem to be holding out – our inventory remains very low. New home builders are gearing up to fill the gap, but those homes are four-12 months away from occupancy dates.

It’s against this local Flagstaff real estate market backdrop that I found this article from last week’s New York Times business section interesting. My advice is not to get carried away with some of the “hype” in the article’s quotations. Yes, we see multiple offers on Flagstaff properties. Yes, we see the beginning of price increases, but in the lower price ranges only. The market “recovery” is all relative. Inventory is so low that it is hard to say if a slight increase – to a healthy level of exchange – might level out or even reduce prices again.

The national housing market is becoming less unhealthy, as I reported in several blog posts last week. That’s good because we need it to improve for all sorts of reasons. But without 15 million sub-prime borrowers being pumped into the bottom and mortgage lending practices going haywire again, the market isn’t going to boom like it did in 2005-06. And, that’s probably a good thing for all of us.

Buying or selling a home in Flagstaff has never been more complex. When you’re ready, give us a call at 928.714.0001 or get acquainted with our Flagstaff homes website. We’re part of the international RE/MAX network and delighted to give Flagstaff the best local real estate service.