Why Is Fall a Big Opportunity for Buyers?

NEW YORK – The housing market has been fiercely competitive over the last few months, but hopeful buyers who keep getting shut out may soon find better luck. Several signs to a potential opening to buy this fall, housing analysts say.

For one, competition reportedly cooled and listings receive fewer offers. In September, Redfin reported that bidding wars among its agents reached their lowest level this year.

Also, more listings are coming to market, offering buyers more choices. A recent realtor.com report shows housing inventory at a high for 2021 – and nearly one-third of the 50 largest metros saw increases in the number of newly listed homes compared to last year.

“This September, buyers had more options than they’ve had all year, and while that’s typical of early fall, that’s not what happened in 2020,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com’s chief economist. “Still, it’s important to remember that while buyers may have an easier time this fall than they did in the spring, the market remains more competitive than it has been historically at this time of year.”

There are still fewer homes for sale than a year ago, and less than half as many as two years ago before the pandemic, Hale says.

Hopeful buyers should watch “days on the market” to indicate it’s a good time to buy in their area – and they should compare days on market to all local neighborhoods, cities and metro areas, says Terri Robinson, a real estate professional with RE/MAX Distinctive in Ashburn, Va. “If things are staying on the market a little longer versus staying for a couple of days, then it might be time for [buyers] to get back in the market,” Robinson says.

Robinson says home inspectors are also reporting that the demand for walk-and-talks is lessening. A walk-and-talk is an abbreviated home inspection completed while a potential buyer views the property. Many homebuyers have been waiving formal home inspections to try to compete in a market with multiple offers. But fewer homebuyers waiving home inspections “indicates that sellers are more amenable now to a buyer coming in and asking for a home inspection, so that’s good news for buyers,” Robinson says.

Potential buyers will never be able to wait out the market perfectly, however.

“If you’re trying to wait for the perfect time, I feel like you’re going to sit and wait forever,” Rob Heck, head of origination at the online mortgage broker Morty, told NerdWallet.

Source: “Hopeful Home Buyers: Here Are Some Signs That You Should Make Your Move,” NerdWallet (Oct. 4, 2021)

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