What Does Each Mean For You, And What Is The Current Market State?
Have you ever wondered when the best time is to buy or sell a home? While certain seasons may be busier than others, the fluctuations within the real estate market have far more to do with the concept of supply and demand than they do with the time of year. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the housing market and whether your local area is experiencing a buyer’s market or a seller’s market.
What Is A Buyer’s Market?
A buyer’s market occurs when supply exceeds demand. To put it another way, real estate inventory is high, and there are plenty of homes for sale, but there’s a shortage of interested home buyers. These conditions give buyers leverage over sellers because when supply is higher and demand is lower, the market is forced to respond.
In a buyer’s market, real estate prices decrease, and homes linger on the market longer. So, sellers must compete with each other in order to attract potential buyers. Typically, sellers will drop their asking prices to gain an advantage in the market. Furthermore, they are much more willing to negotiate offers to prevent buyers from walking away.
What Is A Seller’s Market?
A seller’s market arises when demand exceeds supply. In other words, there are many interested buyers, but the real estate inventory is low. Since there are fewer homes available, sellers are at an advantage.
In a seller’s market, homes sell faster, and buyers must compete with each other in order to score a property. These market conditions often make buyers willing to spend more on a home than they would otherwise. Therefore, sellers can raise their asking prices. Furthermore, the increased interest means that buyers rarely have the power to negotiate and are more willing to accept properties as-is.
Due to the shortage of housing, these conditions often lead to bidding wars. During bidding wars, buyers will make competing offers and drive up the price, typically above what the seller initially asked for.
Is It A Buyer’s Or Seller’s Market?
Before you buy or sell, there are ways to determine if your local area is experiencing a buyer’s market or seller’s market. Here are some indicators that will help you:
- Real estate inventory: Review the homes currently available on the market. The larger the inventory, the more likely it is that your local area is in the midst of a buyer’s market. Conversely, if there seem to be very few homes being listed, then it’s likely a seller’s market. To get a precise read on the inventory, divide the number of homes currently on the market by the number of homes that have sold in the last month. If the result is above 7, it’s a buyer’s market. If it’s below 5, it’s a seller’s market. Anything in between is considered a neutral market.
- Recent sales: Check the recent sales of properties comparable to your own or the one you’re interested in. If you find that homes generally have been selling above ask, it’s a good indication that you’re in a seller’s market. If they’ve been selling below ask, signs point to a buyer’s market.
- Pricing: In a buyer’s market, sellers will often drop their asking prices. When looking at current listings, review the price history. If you see that the prices of a number of homes have been cut recently, you can assume that it’s a buyer’s market. (Though, be aware that sellers may have unrealistic expectations about their homes’ value, so make sure that what you’re noticing is a trend, not just a single occurrence.)
- Time on market: The number of days that a home is on the market is another strong indication of housing conditions. Homes sell faster in a seller’s market and take more time to go under contract in a buyer’s market.
- Market trends: Knowing if home prices across your area have been increasing or decreasing is the strongest indication of whether it’s a seller’s or buyer’s market. The easiest way to gauge if housing prices are rising or falling is to look at market trend reports.