Hungry house hunters in Silicon Valley aren't even waiting for sale signs to go up in front of the city's houses, says David Streitfeld for The New York Times. The number of homes on the market is so slim--the lowest it's been in 20 years--that potential buyers are feeling desperate enough to approach home owners who aren't even looking to sell.

It is a microcosm of a growing national problem. The number of homes on the market in the United States has fallen on a year-over-year basis for the last 14 months, the National Association of Realtors says. When adjusted for population, the inventory of homes for sale is the lowest it has been since modern records started being kept in 1982.

And the growth of the technology industry is fueling Silicon Valley's housing problem. As big tech companies like Facebook and Google hire more workers, more new residents need a place to live.

“I live between an Apple person and a Google person. Real estate is really crazy around here,” said Jim Fenton, a tech consultant in Los Altos. “This morning I was cold-called by an agent who said he had clients who wanted to move into my neighborhood, and did I want to sell?”

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