The inventory of available homes for sale is affected by not just the level of new construction but a confluence of economic and tax-code factors.

Chris Trapani,owner of realtor Sereno Group, takes a guest turn on Inman's site to weigh in on why there are so few homes on the market--and why this inventory dearth will most likely remain, or get worse.

While many would simply point to the muted pace of construction over the last couple of years, that's only a small part of the overall picture, Trapani writes. His analysis points to a confluence of economic and tax-code factors, including the value disruption that occurred from 2007 to 2010; tax laws around transfers of ownership when one spouse dies; and, paradoxically, today's low interest rates. But the first culprit he tackles is the capital gains exclusion on primary residences:

While the Taxpayer Relief Act eased the home-sale tax burden for millions of homeowners, higher-priced real estate markets experienced an unintended outcome: fewer move-up buyers because their gains on their existing home exceeded the $250K/$500K maximum, thereby creating an unwanted tax burden.

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