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Real estate outlook for the upcoming year

There are some indications that 2022 could be a better year if you’re looking to buy.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Buying a home in 2021 has been nothing short of frustrating; inventory has been down, prices have been up, and in many cases, you can’t even wait a day before a prospect is gone.

The U.S. housing market has gotten so out of whack -- with demand far outpacing supply -- that prices have risen to record levels and roughly half of all U.S. houses are selling for above their list price.

Data from real estate brokerage Redfin shows that two years ago, before the pandemic, just a quarter of homes were selling above the seller's asking price. The current level is the highest in the decade that Redfin has tracked the data.

The situation has a lot of potential buyers wondering if relief is in sight.

No one has a crystal ball, but there are some indications that 2022 could be a better year if you’re looking to buy.

Let’s start with inventory. 

We’ll use our largest city, Virginia Beach, as an example. According to Zillow, the city averaged about 12,000 active listings a month before the pandemic. In July of 2020, that number started plummeting, dropping to only 6,600 listings by February 2021.

Now those numbers are creeping back up. From February to August we’ve seen a 25 percent increase in listings. That’s significant, considering inventory often determines what you’re going to pay.

Unfortunately, we aren’t seeing any significant shift when it comes to home prices locally yet.

In Virginia Beach, the median sale price continues to climb, from $265,000 in August 2020 to $288,000 in August 2021.

Because the housing market is driven by supply and demand, the increase in inventory should help with the price of buying a home.

We probably won’t see a shift to a buyers’ market in the next year, but things could cool down enough to keep a little extra money in your wallet.