ANNAPOLIS, Md. – May 5, 2015 – This spring will be a good time to buy or sell a home. But life isn't perfect, so expect to run into a couple of hurdles, especially if you are a buyer.

With alimited inventory of homes for sale, buyers will continue to face competition when bidding on homes – even for million-dollar properties.

But on a brighter note, they may find it a bit easier to get a mortgage as credit standards loosen up. If you want to grab a low mortgage rate, you're still in luck – but don't waste time, because rates will eventually rise this year.

These are some of the housing trends you should expect this spring

Still not enough homes. If you are looking to buy a home, get ready to compete with other buyers this spring. The inventory of homes available for sale is likely to keep tightening, says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at In February, the number of home listings decreased 10.9 percent, compared with the previous February, according to data released by

"Inventory is probably one of the biggest variables to potentially worry about holding back the market this year," Smoke says.

That's especially the case for entry-level homes. The situation might worsen as mortgage rates rise and homeowners reconsider moving and losing the low mortgage rate they have locked long term, he says.

"There's going to be a mortgage rate lock-in effect," he says. "People will become less likely to want to trade up because they won't be able to improve their position financially."

But the lack of inventory of homes for sale isn't a problem everywhere. says some growing markets where inventory has been increasing include:

  • The Detroit metro area, with a 5.7 percent increase in inventory from February 2014 to February 2015
  • Pittsburgh, up 3.9 percent over the same period
  • Jacksonville, Fla., up 3.3 percentReprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved
  • Indianapolis, up 1.9 percent

Possible uptick in mortgage rates. You may have heard this before, but this year may really be the year when mortgage rates rise.