Looking for a new home? Good luck. Inventory is way down because of COVID-19.

Some homebuyers are taking time to build instead of navigating a strained market.
Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 7:40 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In the spring, for sale signs rise like flowers.

But in recent years, there have never been so few to pick from as there are right now.

“We don’t want to have to make a snap decision. And that’s the environment we’re in right now,” first-time homebuyer Melissa Bottom said. “Most of the time, we weren’t even actually able to see the house that we wanted to see because there was already an offer on them.”

Bottom and her husband moved to Louisville from Seattle, looking forward to buying their first house as a married couple.

The two moved from Seattle but are now building a home because of the tough market.
The two moved from Seattle but are now building a home because of the tough market.(WAVE)

What they didn’t know was that COVID-19 was forcing many homeowners to stay put.

As a result, the inventory of available homes in Louisville is half of what it was last year.

“There’s a very high chance that you’re going to be up against other offers and that’s not typical for Louisville,” Re/Max Champions realtor Tre Pryor said. “So it makes things very stressful and buyers are usually not able to get the first house they come across. It’s two or three or maybe even four times.”

COVID is also influencing the kind of house people are looking for.

After a year of at-home work and school, buyers want more square footage and bigger yards if they can find it.

After months of looking, Melissa and her husband threw in the towel.

They decided it was easier to wait months on building a new home.

“It definitely was not an HGTV experience where we’re going in and getting to choose from three houses, we didn’t even have a choice for one,” Bottom said. “So, definitely a frustrating experience.”

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