Housing remains scarce in some U.S. markets, but four factors will influence inventory throughout the year. Property values are on the rise, making homeowners more willing to sell — although prices in such locales as Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Illinois remain lower than their housing-boom peaks. Escalating appreciation will boost homeowners’ equity, helping some emerge from underwater status and enabling them to sell. Additionally, the “shadow inventory” of bank foreclosures is shrinking, and new homes will be built — both of which will increase the for-sale inventory. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders reports that housing starts hit a five-year high last year. | Read More