SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – Real estate agents and potential home buyers in Metro Detroit are running into a big problem this spring: There are no homes to buy.

That’s according to real estate insider Mark Gilman of Decus Strategic Communications. Gilman said those who own homes, especially in the plum $300 to $600,000 range, are hanging on to them.

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“A $600,000 home right now was probably worth close to $800, $900,000 a few years ago,” Gilman said.

“So, you think about a buyer in that situation right now —  they would love to take advantage of that situation. But the inverse side is, people who are in those homes can’t afford to take the loss,” he said.

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Gilman said even banks are holding onto to many of their foreclosed homes and leaving them off the market.

Gilman said the upside is the lack of homes for sale will help to eventually bring prices back up.

“We had a lot of speculators coming into the area and low-balling bids,” he said. “I think many of them were very unfair, taking advantages of homeowners that were stressed. Those days are over.”

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Gilman said most of what’s available right now are foreclosed and short-sale homes that need a lot of work.