Allen also sees the inventory issue much like Yun does -- as good news for home sellers, who don't have a lot of competition as the summer selling season draws to a close. "Those looking to sell shouldn't hesitate to list their homes if they have equity," he says. "There's still a shortage of properties for sale in any markets, and new home building remains modest. Sellers should be able to get a favorable offer relatively quickly in most markets." Allen notes the inventory for U.S. home sales remains fairly flat, and that the new supply of homes for sale stands at roughly 2.22 million, a low number for a healthy residential real estate market. He adds that while home building is coming back, the supply of housing for sale is not likely to grow much unless building grows by another 50% over current levels. In this environment, it's tough to tell homebuyers to sit tight and wait for mortgage rates to drop. The likelihood is they won't.
But with good homes at a premium right now, buying a dream property means doing tons of research, talking to plenty of lenders and making sure your credit rating is pristine -- and stays that way for the next few months. If you can manage that, chances are you can still get a decent home at a decent price and at a decent mortgage rate. These days, that's about all you can ask for.