Spring housing market outlook: Low rates, low inventory

ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WBAY) - With interest rates now at historic lows and spring just around the corner, you may be thinking about buying a house.

PHOTO: Real Estate Sold Sign, Photo Date: 11/11/13

If that's the case, you're not alone, and you'll likely have competition for that home you have your eye on.

If you're looking to sell your home, you may not find a better time.

"We have a lot of people that want to move, there's nothing for them to buy," says Realtor Ben Bartolazzi, owner of Ben Bartolazzi Real Estate in Ashwaubenon.

That's because, according to Bartolazzi, plenty of people are staying put in homes they bought cheap a decade ago during the recession, and have since either remodeled, refinanced, or both.

"I remember back during the crash, 2010, right when we were in the middle of it, I remember seeing 3,500 homes for sale just in Brown County," recalls Bartolazzi.

Compare that to the current market for existing homes.

"In Brown County right now there are 641 homes that are for sale and 302 have accepted offers, so about 47 percent, almost 50 percent have accepted offers, so very low supply, very high demand which then pushes the prices up," says Bartolazzi.

While it's definitely a seller's market right now, Bartolazzi says historically low interest rates are hard to ignore.

"Typically a seller, they are usually a buyer as well, and so just that one-percent difference if it was at 4.5 or 3.5 percent can save you on your average home about 100 bucks a month," says Bartolazzi.

Bartolazzi's advice if you're looking to buy this spring is stay on top of what's available and be ready to act.

"We had a home for sale for $230,000 in Allouez and we had 20 showings on that in the first two days and ended up getting four offers on it, so we are seeing a lot of bidding wars, so you don't want to get too emotionally connected to that home, but the values are what the values are, so put in your strongest offer and hopefully you get it," says Bartolazzi.