Housing market strong but not enough homes for buyers

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) -- The housing market in the QCA is going strong and many first-time buyers say they're struggling to find affordable homes. A recent increase in property tax assessments is a reflection of the demand in the market now.

Dounia Sareini has been on a search for a home for quite some time. With her having three children, she's looking for extra room.

“Enough space that it can accommodate all of us. So that in two to three years, we won't have to move again,” said Dounia Sareini, a buyer looking for a house.

Sareini says her goal is to find a home in Bettendorf and stay in the Pleasant Valley School District. Which has made her search a little tight.

“Soon as something hits the market we have to be sure that we are acting on it quickly enough. The homes that are in our price range and also the homes we are looking for are going off the market so quickly that you just don't have much of a chance to go home and analyze or think about is this the right home for me?

Sareini’s realtor Connie Coster is determined to help, but Coster says at certain price points they are running out of homes.

“When you have a winter like we've just had, people are ready and they want out and about. So we are seeing a lot of buyers out that were pent up all winter that normally would have been looking maybe January or February,” said Coster, a realtor for Ruhl &Ruhl Realtors.

The high demand for homes is related to homeowners seeing an increase in their property tax assessments.

“If you're in the affordable price range we have what we call a “sellers’ market”. They are flying away, they are strong demand,” said Caroline Ruhl, CEO of Ruhl & Ruhl Realtors.

The Scott County Assessor’s Office says the real estate market has been strong for the last few years, but Caroline Ruhl, CEO of Ruhl & Ruhl says the home assessments are helping sellers with affordable homes. Not so many sellers on the pricer end.

“It can be slow, some homes have been on the market for months and they just can't seem to get moving. There just isn't as many expensive home buyers as affordable home buyers,” said Ruhl.

For Sareini, she says dealing with home tax assessments is part of owning a home and becoming a homeowner.

“I think actually it would be a little bit more of a relief because I know the value of the home that I am purchasing is continuing to go up. Which is going to increase my value as well when it comes time to resale,” said Sareini.

Ruhl says there are many factors why there are fewer affordable homes on the market.
Such as investors buying the affordable homes and turning them into rentals, baby boomers aging in place and not moving, and sellers waiting until they have found a home before they sell their existing home.

Ruhl and Coster say the warm weather has opened the floodgates for buyers shopping for homes. So it's a good time to put a house on the market and mortgage interest rates are lower than they were last year at this time. For first time home buyers interested in learning more about the market. Connie Coster & Miranda Mendoza of Ruhl & Ruhl Realtors are hosting a “Buyers & Brews” event on May 1st from 6-8 p.m. at the Great River Brewery.