People are flooding open houses and feverishly bidding on homes even after predictions of a market crash and bargain-basement prices. Here’s why.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images”> © Justin Sullivan/Getty Images An open house in San Francisco. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images The spring homebuying season is rife with competition. The supply of available homes is thinning, damping the impact of higher mortgage rates. This has led to the same bidding wars that plagued homebuyers in headier times.

After a grueling winter of dashed hopes, US home shoppers are going through a brutal spring homebuying season. 

If you’re in the market at all, odds are that you’re paying up for a home instead of grabbing the bargains that some headlines were predicting last year. The culprit: homeowners with historically low house payments see no reason to move, keeping their properties off the market.

That scenario — a result of the steepest Federal Reserve interest rate increases since the 1980s — has turned what’s left on the market into hot commodities. In March, for example, more than 300 people lined up to tour a 1,168-square-foot home in Durham, Connecticut, a town of just over 7,000 people about two-hours from Boston and New York City.

“I’ve never seen anything like this in Connecticut,” said Claudia O’Connell, the listing agent for the home at 51 Birch Mill Road, who attributed the home’s popularity to its proximity to the metropolitan areas and its modest size.

A few hours’ drive away in Wayne, New Jersey, Cassandra Small and her husband saw so much competition for slim pickings in February that they decided to offer $100,000 above the asking price on a home, The New York Times reported. Theirs was one in a flurry of 35 offers, and not the most attractive, either, according to the report. 

Indeed, as fewer homeowners list their properties for sale, inventory is as tightening, creating a market that seems as competitive as it was

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