Looking to buy your first home? Good luck: you have about a week

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House hunters, start your engines. Even though home prices are hitting record highs, properties across the United States are selling faster than ever, typically getting ripped off after just a week on the market.

It is the shortest stretch in the history of home sales, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Before the pandemic, homes stayed on the market for about three weeks before being sold, according to NAR data.

“Buyers are moving quickly during the pandemic” in part because there are fewer homes in their area to choose from, Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics for the real estate group, said in a statement.

Not surprisingly, the greenhouse housing market is good for sellers. Average home prices have risen 4% in the past three months alone to a record high of $ 310,500, according to real estate data provider Attom Data Solutions.

Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic has led to a ultra-competitive real estate market, housing experts told CBS MoneyWatch. George Ratiu, senior economist for Realtor.com, said several trends combine to pose challenges for homebuyers. One is a simple demographics: nearly 5 million millennials turn 30 each year, entering their decade of life when they settle down and look to buy a home. Meanwhile, historically low mortgage rates have invited many first-time buyers to enter the market.

The pandemic has also prompted many people to pull the trigger, especially for properties with home offices and outdoor spaces. At the same time, some homeowners are reluctant to sell due to the increasing cost of finding another place to live and the widespread shortage of inventory.


Homebuyers Facing Hot Market Challenges

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According to NAR, most people who can get a home quickly have gone through the home buying process. This can leave first-time buyers out in the cold, especially given the skyrocketing cost of rent and heavy student debt that can make it difficult for many young Americans to save for a down payment.

Buying a home costs just over five times what the average American earns in a year, according to Real Estate Witch. The Homebuyer Education website found that the most affordable major cities to buy a home are Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Oklahoma City. The least affordable are Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.

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