The spring homebuying season favors the seller this year because of extremely tight inventory and likely higher prices, Trulia Chief Economist Ralph McLaughlin said Tuesday.
Cities on the West Coast and in the Northeast are seeing the least number of homes for sale, McLaughlin told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “If you’re looking to find a home in California or even New York and Boston, it is more difficult now than at any point in the last four years.”
McLaughlin does not see a bubble in the housing market. He cited two factors behind the supply shortage. “At the starter-end level, a lot of homes were foreclosed upon in 2012 and those were turned into rental units.”
Secondly, existing homeowners may decide not to move because they can’t afford it, “as prices of trade-up homes and premium homes start to get out of reach,” he said.
However, McLaughlin said: “If you’re in the Mideast or the South, it’s not looking too bad.”
The uneven regional trends are playing out against the backdrop of the lowest mortgage rates of the year. The national average on the popular 30-year fixed fell to 3.59 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac.
But at the same time, it might be a little tougher to get a home loanbecause credit availability tightened last month, the Mortgage Bankers Association found.