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Why are home prices so high?

Demand is high but so are prices.

ATLANTA — The pandemic has many people looking for change, but moving to a new home comes with a steep price.

Home prices have skyrocketed. Buyers are snatching homes off the market within hours, while nearly half of all sellers are getting more than their asking price.

11Alive viewer Debbie Daniels Dawson has seen it happen in her metro-Atlanta neighborhood, and wonders what’s going on.

“People are buying the houses and taxes are to come,” Daniels Dawson said. “Why the big surge?”

The number of homes up for sale is low while demand is high.

It began over a decade ago during the Great Recession when home building ground to a halt.

“There was three or four years when there was very little building going on,” says Roy Black of Emory’s Goizueta Business School. “So we missed adding to the stock of houses at that point.”

Building slowed again during the pandemic further limiting the supply as millennials enter the housing market.

Also increasing demand are the people who’ve been working from home and now desire more space.

The pandemic slowed the production of products needed to build homes while do-it-yourself projects kept demand high. The price of lumber has nearly tripled over the past year.

“It’s everything,” says financial expert Andrew Poulos. “It’s copper prices, aluminum, steel, lumber, everything involved in construction is getting super expensive.”

Then there are the interest rates on a home loan that have experienced record lows, encouraging even more people into the market.

“These are crazy low rates,” Black said. “It’s much easier to qualify than it was.”

A Realtor.com survey holds encouraging news for homebuyers. Many wary of listing their home during the pandemic are getting ready to do just that. There are others, however, who say they can’t sell because they can’t find a new place to live in their price range.

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