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Redfin: Homebuyer competition eases as housing market cools

This winter, buyers spent the shortest time searching for homes within the last 6 years

As the housing market continues to cool, homebuyers across the country are benefiting from declining home prices and rising inventory.

In fact, according to recent data from Redfin, housing market competition is easing, therefore permitting homebuyers to close on homes faster than previous months.

“With more homes on the market, prices growing at a slower rate and even falling in some markets, and less competition from other buyers, finding a home is a lot less stressful this year than it has been in recent years,” Redfin writes. “When a buyer finds the home they want to make an offer on there’s now a greater chance that their offer will be the only one and that the seller will accept it.”

In fact, these factors led to the shortest median home search length for homebuyers during the winter months in at least six years, according to Redfin.

Furthermore, in the three months ending in February, it took the typical homebuyer only 73 days to close on their new home after just one home tour.

Not only is this down from 76 days in 2018, but it is also a decline from the housing market peak of 84 days in the winter of 2016.

“This year, there are more homes for sale relative to the number of buyers, so a buyer is more likely to have their first offer accepted, while sellers are having to wait longer for their home to be sold,” Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said.

Notably, Redfin indicates that although the market is becoming more tenable for buyers, it’s becoming less favorable for sellers, who are now waiting longer to secure a buyer this year.

Nationwide, homes that sold in February spent a median of 59 days on the market before going under contract, up two days from a year earlier, and following three consecutive years of acceleration.

“Buyers this year are more prepared from the start of the process,” Redfin Agent David Ehrenberg said. “Typically, when I meet a buyer to start to visit homes in person and strategize how to win the right home for the right price, she has already been browsing homes for sale online for months and is now ready to focus on a narrow band of neighborhoods or buildings.”

“They’re only touring things that they think have a strong chance of liking and being able to afford,” Ehrenberg continued. “My buyers have an idea from their friends of what it takes to win a competitive offer, so they’re more inclined to work with lenders that will give them a competitive edge, and include strong terms in their first offer, compared to buyers in years past.”

NOTE:  Redfin’s analysis of home touring and offer activity is based on data received from homebuyers searching for homes with Redfin agents within the past five years.

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