There’s never been a housing market quite like this before.

Today’s real estate agents are pulling double duty as therapists, consoling heartbroken homebuyers who lost out on their fifth—or 15th—home. First-time homebuyers around the country are being outbid by investors—some of whom are willing to pay more than $100,000 over asking price. Wealthy buyers offering all cash for second homes are sending prices ever higher, pushing the dream of homeownership out of reach for many folks.

Meanwhile home sellers are enjoying the benefits of life in the fast lane: the ultimate seller’s market. Can all this last? Is this really going to become the new normal?

Well, no. In this pandemic-fueled era, it’s easy to forget that the extremes of today’s real estate market—like, say, having to put in an offer well over asking price and agreeing to waive all contingencies, before an open house is even over—are simply not normal….

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