The inevitable fluctuations in the supply of homes for sale and the demand for them make the real estate market much like your favorite childhood playground seesaw with rare moments of true balance.  To better understand how this analogy applies in the real estate world, here is a quick review of the varied types of real estate markets you can encounter and what they mean.

 - Buyer’s Market - A buyer’s market occurs when there are more homes for sale than there are buyers actively looking to purchase. This can be a time for buyers to potentially save some money by capitalizing on the abundance of motivated sellers who really need to move. In a buyer’s market it is not uncommon for sellers to reduce the price of their homes or offer other incentives to sell their property in an effort to secure a contract from a somewhat scarce buyer population.

- Seller’s Market - A seller’s market occurs when there are more buyers searching for homes than properties for sale. In this market, sellers are typically able to sell their homes for top dollar in very short periods of time, often receiving multiple offers that drive the purchase price higher than the list price of the home.  Moreover, buyers frequently will make concessions to sellers in an effort to present a more appealing proposal than any competing offer.

- Balanced Market – Balanced markets exist when current inventories are sufficient to satisfy roughly five to six months’ worth of buyer demand and homes sell reasonably close to their listing prices.

- Stratified Market – A stratified market occurs when segments of the same market area exhibit divergent levels of inventory relative to demand.

While these explanations are relatively straight forward, the real estate market often is not. This is because real estate markets can be applied to an entire city, a neighborhood, by price range or even different types of properties. Thus, it is not uncommon to see a seller’s market in lower, entry-level price ranges while a buyer’s market exists concurrently at a higher price point.

Some agents might advise to refrain from selling your home during a buyer’s market. But in many cases selling won’t have a negative impact on your portfolio if you plan to reinvest in a new home. What you may give up on the sale of your current home, could likely be recaptured on the purchase price of your next home.

Working with an experienced real estate agent should ensure that your real estate approach is appropriate for both the current market and your real estate goals. For additional information regarding the buying or selling process, feel free to contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, help you to find a new home or determine the value of your existing property.

Allyson Hoffman, ABR, ACRE, CDPE, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, SFR, SRES
RE/MAX Villager
Serving Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs
[email protected]

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Allyson Hoffman is your ultimate real estate resource for Chicago's North Shore, North and Northwest Suburbs and surrounding areas. Visit my website for detailed information regarding today’s real estate markets.

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