RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Nick and Kayla Hollenbeck really liked the house they looked at last week.
The 3,100-square-foot home at 3027 Sunny Hill Circle in southwest Rapid City featured vaulted ceilings, a fireplace, three bedrooms, 3-1/2 baths, an open kitchen and family room with panoramic views of the Black Hills skyline, a three-car garage, a finished basement and a large well-groomed yard.
What better place for an established family, or a house with room for a young family to grow?
The problem for the Hollenbecks, however, is the home is significantly out of their desired price range.
The Hollenbecks and their four-month-old daughter, Cora, have been caught in what has become a white-hot housing market in Rapid City.
The family recently moved here from Mitchell and are staying with Kayla Hollenbeck’s parents while looking for a home of their own.
They have made offers on less expensive properties, only to be shut out.
“We have put in offers on three houses and lost all three of them,” Kayla Hollenbeck told the Rapid City Journal . “It’s been disappointing.”
“One, we never had a chance to counter our original offer,” Nick Hollenbeck added. “They just sold to a higher offer.”
So now the couple is expanding their search to a higher price range and to areas of town they might not have looked at before.
“We’re looking at everything, including houses that are more than we would be comfortable paying just in the hopes that we can find something,” Kayla Hollenbeck said.
The current real estate crunch is as much a shortfall in the number of homes typically on the market in late spring and early summer — a prime time for home sales — as well as strong demand created by factors that include growth in the number of jobs in the local health care industry and younger couples moving up from apartment living.
A healthy housing market for the greater Rapid City area would be 600 to 700 homes for sale, said realtor Perry Grosz of EXIT Realty Black Hills of Rapid City.
As of June 21, there were fewer than half that number of homes and townhomes available in Rapid City and its surrounding bedroom communities, which includes Box Elder to the east, Piedmont, Elk Creek and Nemo Road to the west and Hermosa to the south.
“In all of that big area, a 20-mile circle, there’s only 345 homes or townhomes you can buy,” Grosz said.
The market has been especially hot for homes in the $250,000 price range, with those listings being sold in some cases in a matter of hours.
“$230,000 is the average. Anything under that is not on the market very long at all,” said realtor Jennifer Brue of Keller Williams Black Hills Realty. “For a lot of sellers, if you’re in the right price range at the right time, it goes within the first week of being on the market.”
Grosz said homes are being purchased sight unseen. Realtors do a walk-through with live social media videos with their clients.
“They’ll be writing offers basically sight unseen. They haven’t been on site,” he said.
Brue said the home on Sunny Hill Circle, viewed by the Hollenbecks last week, has been on the market since mid-May, initially priced at $398,000 and drawing strong interest at first.
A recent $10,000 reduction in the asking price combined with potential buyers needing to widen their range should increase the showings again, she said.
With the shortage of available properties, market pressure can only expand to higher and higher price ranges, Grosz said.
“The numbers just keep moving up,” he said.
The shortage of homes on the market also comes as the economy continues to stabilize from the deep recession a decade ago, with more people staying in their homes, said Pam Heiberger, president of the Black Hills Association of Realtors.
“This isn’t a concentrated thing in just our Rapid City area. It’s throughout the country as far as a housing shortage goes,” she said. “We’re not the only ones getting hit.”
The economic outlook for Rapid City continues to look bright, with ongoing growth and the expected expansion at
“We’re good here in the Rapid City area for the next five, if not probably up to 10 years, from what’s going to happen,” Grosz said.
For the Hollenbecks, just finding a place to live for their growing family is the priority.
“The search continues,” Kayla said. “That’s what we keep saying.”
Heiberger said now is the time for anyone considering selling a home, as many families look to move now to be settled before school starts in the fall.
“It’s a good time to be a seller,” she said. “If buyers can be patient, the right home will come along.”