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Buyers Market?

June 25, 2024

Buyers Market?

Is it currently a buyer's market or seller's market

In Marin, we tend to fluctuate between a seller's market and an ridiculously strong seller's market. A textbook buyer's market is rare, but conditions do change, and there are times when it is easier for buyers to get into this incredibly competitive market. A strong buyer's agent is a huge essential for anyone hoping to be successful, so make sure you do your research and choose an agent who has experience submitting successful offers and navigating the escrow process in Marin.

The article below was published in June 2024 by Zillow and gives a guide to the national market. In Marin we are leaning towards an easier market than usual for buyers.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, you may be wondering: Is now the right time?

While the housing market can be unpredictable at times, you can gauge whether your local market favors buyers or sellers by looking at trends like speed of home sales and the number of active shoppers. Currently, the nation as a whole is a seller's market. But that calculus is slowly changing as high interest rates and home prices continue to price many buyers out of the market. 

Zillow® data from April and May 2024 show that, nationally, the market is trending toward neutral territory, where buyers and sellers are on equal footing. The data, captured in Zillow’s new Market Heat Index, also shows individual markets where buyers or sellers might have an edge. This information can help you set realistic expectations around prices and give you an idea of the kind of experience you’re more likely to have as a buyer or a seller.

Here’s what to look for to see whether you’re in a buyer's or seller's market

What is a buyer's market vs. seller's market

Buyer's market

When there are more homes for sale than there are buyers in the marketplace, the housing market favors buyers. In a buyer's market, you’re more likely to see price cuts and seller concessions, and buyers usually have more time to shop for homes.

Seller's market

In a seller's market, buyers outnumber sellers, creating more competition for available homes. This type of housing market is favorable to sellers, who are more likely to receive multiple offers — sometimes above asking price.

How do I know if I’m in a buyers market or sellers market?

Consult with a local agent

Agents are experts on their local markets, and can craft buying or selling strategies tailored to local market conditions. If you’re a buyer, they can show you homes that fit your budget and help you craft the most attractive offer based on those conditions. If you’re selling, they can show you how your home compares to others for sale in your area, how to improve and market your home to show it at its best and how to evaluate and respond to offers.

Check Zillow’s Market Heat Index

The index offers a current snapshot of where the top 100 U.S. markets stand. It measures three things: 

1) the number of potential buyers shopping for homes on Zillow, which is a leading indicator of housing demand; 2) the share of for-sale listings with price cuts; and 3) the share of active listings that accept an offer within 21 days. How fast homes sell is a sign of whether a market is “hot” or “cold.”

Consider available inventory

The number of homes for sale varies, not just among states, but also ZIP codes. A balanced market that favors neither buyers or sellers has between five and seven months’ worth of inventory. Anything less than that favors sellers; anything more favors buyers. Use Zillow’s home values look-up to see what inventory is like in your ZIP code. 

Look at comparable homes that have sold

Comparables or “comps” are recent home sales in your area that are similar in size, age, location and condition to the home you want to buy or sell. Comps give you an idea of what similar homes are selling for and how fast they sold.

Follow trends in home price sales

Are prices increasing or decreasing in your area? If prices have been growing in the last few months and are projected to continue growing, you’re in a sellers market.  

Note the number of distressed properties on the market

Distressed properties are homes that are under foreclosure, short sale, or headed to auction. The volume of distressed properties can be an indicator of the health of your local market. A bump in distressed or bank-owned properties on the market indicates a buyers market.

Follow mortgage interest rates

Lower mortgage interest rates attract more buyers to the market, which increases competition. When rates are high, fewer buyers tend to shop for homes. Check online or keep an eye on financial headlines to see whether rates are likely to rise or fall.

Should I sell my house right now?

On a national scale, homes are selling quickly. However, inventory has been growing, mainly because more listings have been staying on the market longer. The current trend shows that the real estate market nationally is heading into more neutral territory. And, of course, local markets have their own dynamics, so what might be true nationally could be different locally.

Selling a home in a sellers market has several advantages. A correctly priced home is likely to sell faster in a sellers market, where you will also have more negotiating power. In a fast-paced market, correctly priced homes and those with in-demand features or layouts tend to sell quickly. If your home doesn’t generate interest right away, your listing could linger and lose some of the advantages of a sellers market.

Pricing is especially important. In a seller’s markets, deals can fall apart if the price exceeds the appraisal and buyers are unable or unwilling to make up the difference. Buyers are often skeptical of homes that don’t sell quickly, and may wonder why your home is back on the market.

Also, when you’re a seller, you’re more likely to be a buyer as well, and it could be hard to find another home. Ultimately, the decision to sell is a personal one, and market dynamics are only part of the picture.

Should I buy a home right now?

It bears repeating that the best time to buy a home is when it’s right for you. There’s no one right time to buy for everyone since everyone’s circumstances and comfort levels are different. It’s important to understand what you can afford, and to connect with a loan officer and agent who can help you understand your financing options and the market you’d be buying into.

You’re likely to encounter stiffer competition in a seller’s market, which could lead to fewer deals and few if any concessions from the seller. Even so, you can still make your offer stand out.

In a buyer’s market, you’re likely to have more choices, more price cuts and concessions and more time to shop. While there’s no guarantee that any given market will become a buyer’s market, it may still be possible to find an affordable home. And that’s why we often tell people to be prepared for the unexpected, and be ready to make an offer if you find a home that works for you.


This article is based on one written by Susan Kelleher & publised by Zillow in June 2024.


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