A surge in the prices of lumber and steel have made buying a new home out of reach for many Americans.
Even without looking at prices, you can tell when real estate is hot. More people want to become agents, and more “house-flipping” shows are on TV.
Why would anyone want to be an agent, anyway? There are fewer homes for sale now than at any time in nearly four decades — 1.04 million at the end of January, says the National Association of Realtors. Yet NAR says 1.45 million agents, up 4.8% from a year earlier, were competing to sell them.
That’s about seven-tenths of one home per agent, and on top of that, says Real Trends, a Colorado-based research firm, sales commissions are dropping, like they usually do when markets are sizzling.
So let’s recap: More agents chasing fewer homes and making lower commissions. Where do I sign up?
These are all signs that presage a market top. Sort of like buying stocks when the S&P 500 SPX, 1.00% is trading for about 42 times earnings (as of Tuesday), but that’s another discussion.
It’s hardly a mystery as to why real estate is surging.
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