How Can You Tell If Is It a Buyers or Sellers Market?

By: ROS Team

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Whether you’re a seasoned investor or a first-time homebuyer, navigating the real estate market can feel like a rollercoaster. Understanding if it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market is crucial for making strategic decisions.

In a buyer’s market, you might find more favorable deals and negotiation power. Conversely, a seller’s market can mean fierce competition and higher prices. But how do you identify the current market climate?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This guide will equip you with the key factors to watch and the knowledge to confidently assess the market in your area.

What Is A Buyer’s Market?

A buyer’s market is a situation in real estate where there are more homes for sale than interested buyers. This gives buyers the upper hand, as they have more choices, potentially lower prices, and more room to negotiate with sellers who are eager to sell their properties.

What Is A Seller’s Market?

A seller’s market in real estate happens when there are more interested buyers than houses available. This creates a competitive environment where homes sell quickly, often above asking price, and sellers have the upper hand in negotiations. Bidding wars are common, and buyers may have to waive contingencies to make their offer more attractive.

buyers market vs sellers market
Photo Credit: Canva


Buyers Market vs Sellers Market: What’s The Difference?

AspectSeller’s MarketBuyer’s Market
Supply and DemandHigh demand, low inventoryLow demand, high inventory
PricingPrices tend to rise due to competitionPrices may stagnate or decrease due to surplus
NegotiationSellers have more negotiating powerBuyers have more negotiating power
Time on MarketProperties sell quickly, often in days or weeksProperties may linger on the market for months
CompetitionMultiple offers on properties are commonFewer offers on properties
ConditionsSellers may receive offers above the asking priceBuyers may negotiate below the asking price
InventoryLimited options for buyersWide range of options for buyers

How Can You Tell If It’s A Buyer’s Or Seller’s Market?

There are a couple of key factors to watch out for to determine if it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market in your area:

1. Inventory levels

A high number of homes for sale compare­d to recent buys (over 7 months’ worth) means a buyer’s market. Few home­s selling fast (under 5 months’ worth) suggest a se­ller’s market.

2. Sale prices

Homes selling at or above list price­ signal a seller’s market. In a buye­r’s market, homes may take longe­r to sell below the list price­.

3. Days on market

This shows how long a home­ stays for sale before it se­lls. In a buyer’s market, homes linge­r for weeks or months. In a seller’s market, homes sell ve­ry fast, often within days of listing.

4. Real Estate Agents

Local agents know the current conditions in your area. The­y have recent data insights. The­y can tell if it’s better for buye­rs or sellers.

Tips for Sellers in a Seller’s Market

  • Price Strategically: Aim for a competitive price to spark bidding wars, but avoid overpricing that deters buyers.
  • Prepare for a Fast Sale: Have paperwork ready and plan your next move beforehand.
  • Highlight Curb Appeal: Make a great first impression with a clean, well-maintained exterior.
  • Stage your Home: Depersonalize and declutter to showcase the space and its potential.
  • Consider Waiving Contingencies: Be flexible on inspection or repair demands to attract stronger offers.

Tips for Buyers in a Seller’s Market

  • Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage: Knowing your budget beforehand allows for quick and competitive offers.
  • Be Flexible: Accommodate showing times and potentially move-in dates to stand out.
  • Act fast and Decisively: Don’t hesitate to put in an offer if you find the right house.
  • Consider Offering above Asking Price: Be prepared to go above the asking price, but stay within your budget.
  • Put an Escalation Clause on your Offer: This automatically increases your offer in pre-determined increments up to your maximum limit, competing strongly without overpaying.
  • Waive Contingencies Strategically: Consider waiving some inspections or repairs to make your offer more attractive, but weigh the risks involved.

Tips for Buyers in a Buyer’s Market

  • Do your Research: Know comparable property values to make fair offers.
  • Be Patient: Take your time to find the right house without rushing into a decision.
  • Negotiate Confidently: Don’t be afraid to make offers below asking price, backed by your research.
  • Consider Fixer-Uppers: You might find good deals on houses that need some work.
  • Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage: Show sellers you’re a serious buyer.

Tips for Sellers in a Buyer’s Market

  • Price Competitively: Research similar properties and set a realistic asking price to attract buyers quickly.
  • Enhance Curb Appeal: Make a strong first impression with a clean, inviting exterior and landscaping.
  • Stage Strategically: Declutter and highlight the home’s best features to make it appealing to a wider audience.
  • Offer Incentives: Consider covering closing costs or offering a home warranty to sweeten the deal.
  • Be Flexible with Showings: Accommodate buyers’ schedules to increase interest.
  • Market Effectively: Use high-quality photos, virtual tours, and targeted online advertising to reach more buyers.

Is It a Buyers or Sellers Market 2024?

The 2024 housing market is in a state of flux, with some indicators leaning towards a seller’s market and others suggesting a shift towards buyers. While inventory remains low (around 2.9 months supply nationally as of April, 2024, pushing the market in favor of sellers, rising mortgage rates (averaging 7.05% for a 30-year loan in April, 2024) are dampening affordability and buyer enthusiasm. Experts predict a gradual increase in listings this year, potentially leading to a more balanced market but not necessarily a full-blown buyer’s market yet.