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The shrinking number of homes for sale means more bidding wars, bigger price hikes, and less selection.

Meghan Overdeep
October 1, 2018

You’re not imagining it: U.S. homes are selling faster and for more money than they have in ages. The reason? A serious shortage of merchandise.

According to a recent Realtor.com analysis, the number of properties available for sale in the U.S. has reached nearly historic all-time lows. Current inventory levels are comparable with what they were in the early '60s, when the U.S. had roughly half its current population.

Take, for example, one of the cities hit hardest by the shortage of available homes. Over a three-year period, Realtor.com reports that Minneapolis lost the equivalent in inventory of more than two Malls of America—the largest mall in the nation with 4.9 million square feet.

That’s a lot of homes.

And Minneapolis is far from alone. According to U.S. Census data, the total number of homes for sale nationwide in January 2018 was only 6.2 million, compared to 14.3 million in January 2009.

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The shrinking number of homes available means more bidding wars, bigger price hikes, and less selection.

“Buyers have the least amount of options they’ve ever seen before," Javier Vivas, director of economic research at Realtor.com, said in a release. At the same time, "competition has virtually doubled over the past five years.”

Realtor.com reports that the U.S. city suffering most from lack of inventory is Sacramento, California, where the last six months have seen a staggering -55.1% decrease in homes for sale. With an equally-alarming -52.2% decrease in available homes, Charlotte, North Carolina isn’t far behind. “About 1 in 7 homes in Charlotte is new,” Realtor.com notes. “They're just not going up fast enough.”

The only other Southern cities on Realtor.com’s list of 10 cities hit the hardest are Louisville, Kentucky and Richmond, Virginia, both of which boast a -36.8% decrease in inventory.

Good luck out there, y’all!