A hike in demand is expected to create a shortfall in inventory and drive up asking prices for existing home inventory, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors. Continuing low interest rates could add to the inventory squeeze. Wall Street Journal (subscription required) staffer Anya Martin talks to experts and sizes up the market. Martin writes,

The nationwide median price for an existing single-family home was $213,800 in January, up 8.2% from this time a year ago, according to NAR. Price appreciation was at the highest rate since April 2015 and part of a 47-month upward trend of gains.

Lenders also are predicting a busy borrowing season. “There’s a decade of pent-up demand,” says Bob Walters, chief economist of Quicken Loans. With loans volume for home purchases at its highest level in four months, and low interest rates fueling a mini-refinance boom, buyers seeking the best mortgage deals should ask lenders how long closings are taking, Mr. Walters says.

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