Housing market predictions for springIn the latest housing market predictions from the experts at Equifax, it is clear that home prices will continue to rise – they are already five percent higher than they were last year in most parts of the country and are 13.4 percent higher in the Atlanta area according to Case-Shiller – while inventories are smaller than ever. National databases of homes, including the revered Realtor.com listings, are down as much as 40 percent from just a couple years ago.

So what is a homebuyer to do with rising costs in a market with slim selection? The Equifax Finance Blog has tips and tricks for navigating the 2013 market in the new article, “

Low Inventories May Hurt Spring Real Estate Market.” Some ways to stay competitive and widen your options include:

  • Do some research to find the agency that handles most of the foreclosures where you want to buy and hire one of its agents. Often, agents within a brokerage will know about new foreclosures or short sales before they are listed.
  • If you’re handy, you may want to consider a damaged or investor foreclosure. Unlike move-in ready foreclosures, damaged foreclosures are actually languishing in many markets and their prices are falling even though they are in great locations. HousingPulse reports that the average price for a damaged REO property sold in January was just $88,100. That was not only 17.1 percent below the average damaged REO price recorded a year ago—$106,300—but also the lowest level ever recorded by HousingPulse in its four-year history.

In any case, Equifax recommends that you hold off on falling in love with a home until your offer is accepted. As the temperatures get warmer, there will be more buyers out and added competition for the few homes on market.

Get more personal finance advice, including retirement help, info on

types of identity theft and how to avoid debt with information on the Equifax Finance Blog.

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