Prices, scarcity and scams throw would-be home buyers for a loop in 2021

U.S.
Real estate agent with couple looking through documents.

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — A combination of supply chain issues, demand, and scams are making 2021 one of the most difficult years to buy a home.

The National Association of Home Builders reports the price of lumber has gone up 250%, which drove the price of a new single-family home up $36,000.

“NAHB is working with government officials to develop solutions to these sharp price increases which threaten housing affordability across the nation,” the advocacy group writes. They say finishing materials and bathroom and kitchen appliances are also on back order because of the pandemic.

Zillow’s home value index shows the typical value of a home in the U.S. is around $279,000, an 11% jump from April 2020. Home value only went up 4.1% from April 2019 to April 2020.

That same index predicts the average will hit $305,000 by March 2022, which would be a 27% increase from April 2019.

Still, low interest rates are turning out buyers in droves. A TikTok user named “shimmerlifestyle” posted a video claiming to show dozens of people turning out to claim one of 30 available lots in Dallas. The sellers used a lottery system to thin the crowd.

“What it’s like buying a house now!! Insane,” her caption reads. More than 2 million people watched her video.

“It is so competitive that sellers can price their home above market value and still get a full-priced offer from buyers just because of supply and demand,” said Arkansas realtor Hayley Franklin.

Predators are also using some peoples’ desperation against them. In Roseville, California, just northeast of Sacramento, police say scammers are asking for money and identification that they claim is for housing applications, but they’re fake.

“You look at platforms like a Zillow or like a Facebook Marketplace and it makes it so easy for people to post a rental listing online, the problem is anyone can do that,” Roseville Police Department spokesperson Rob Baquera told NewsNation affiliate KTXL.

Baquera recommends avoiding listings that seem too good to be true, or sellers that are out of the country.

NewsNation correspondent Brian Entin contributed to this report.

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