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It’s usually around this time of year, with the holiday season firmly in the rearview mirror, that homebuyers and sellers alike begin to make their way back into the market. That will continue to pick up each week until March arrives. At that point, the industry’s busy season—known as the spring real estate market—will be off to the races.

But this year there is more unease than excitement coming from the home shopper side of the equation. For one thing, last year’s spring housing market, which was arguably the fiercest in history, is still seared into the collective memories of unsuccessful 2021 home shoppers. To understand how far the deck was stacked against buyers last year, just look at the data. The number of homes for sale last spring hit the lowest level in more than 40 years. Bidding wars hit an all-time high—with 72% of homes getting multiple offers in April 2021. And that frenzy saw home appreciation climb to the highest level in tabulated history.

That raises a question: Should homebuyers expect to find a spring housing market in 2022 that is friendlier when compared with 2021? After all, the rate of home price growth over the past year—up 19.1% between October 2020 and October 2021—just can’t be sustained forever.