LUBBOCK, Texas — Real estate professionals said they have seen a shortage of homes in the Lubbock area.
“We are seeing very low inventory, probably less than one month, which is definitely startling,” said Teresa Smith. “President of the Lubbock Realtors Association.
Deanna Chiappone, a homebuyer, said she and her family of six moved to Lubbock in August. She said the search for a new home has been a ‘brutal’ process.
“The first property we saw was a HUD foreclosure fantastic house, put an offer on it and we lost the bid, we didn’t come close,” said Chiappone. “We found another one later on that was perfect, and before we could even get out there. It was sold.”
Smith said multiple factors could have contributed to this high demand in homes, including underbuilding, low interest rates, more home buying among millennials and higher cost of building.
“As we see interest rates creep up a little, that will relax the housing shortage just a bit, said Smith. “Even though none of us want to pay more interest, we do find that that is going to be part of the solution.”
Smith said people selling their homes have also experienced difficulties in the fast-moving market.
“Sellers will have multiple offers, so it creates a bit of panic for those who are wanting to move up and put their homes on the market,” said Smith. “They’re afraid they won’t find something and have a place to go.”
Smith said she recommends buyers consult with a real estate agent to help navigate the market.
“The main thing is that buyers must be prepared if you think you’re ready to go out and look, you need to make sure you’re preapproved, [and] that you know what you’re looking for,” said Smith.
Brice Foster, Senior Vice President at Mortgage Direct for First United Bank and Spirit Mortgage, said their clients have experienced some challenges.
“The predicament that we often find our borrowers in is they are ready to move up to their next home, and we have prequalified. The problem is–they don’t necessarily have many options.
“Many people are also taking advantage of refinancing their current home or doing improvements on their home, which is continuing to put a strangle on existing inventory that is for sale,” said Foster.
Trey Strong, President of Trey Strong Custom Homes, said the home building industry has also seen a demand in people wanting to build homes, which drove up the cost of supplies, such as lumber.
“We have been overwhelmed right now with orders of people wanting to build,” said Strong. “You can probably, on an average size home, add on two more months worth of time for construction.”