(WTNH) — The housing market squeeze means the fading dream of homeownership with high prices, high mortgage rates, and low inventory.

A growing number of would-be buyers are unable to compete. We’re Stretching Your Dollar with what you can do to stand out.

As the number of available homes on the market nears historic lows, fierce bidding wars are erupting across the country. Nationwide, it seems that buyers are willing to do just about anything to close the deal.

“They’re offering non-refundable deposits, they’re offering to waive appraisals,” Sarah Drennan, realtor at O’Connor Realtors, said.

The month of June saw just over one million homes for sale nationwide — down 13.6% from a year ago.

Homes selling for an average price of over $400,000 are slightly lower than last year’s all-time high, but pushing homeownership out of reach for a growing number of Americans.

“It was brutal, to be honest with you,” homebuyer Dylan McCarty said.

First-time homebuyers are discouraged after being outbid on homes. So the next time, they got creative. In addition to biding $50,000 above the asking price, they simply wrote the seller a note.

“[We] let them know that we would be thrilled if they would select us,” McCarty said.

It worked and they got their home.

With mortgage rates now averaging about 7%, homeowners with lower rates are reluctant to sell, making the lack of inventory even worse.

“For the sellers, we really want them to divorce those rates,” Drennan said, noting “that’s what’s going to start to lessen that log jam.”

Also a growing trend — a number of homeowners with ultra low mortgage rates are pouring the money they would have used to buy another home into renovations on their current one.