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Why This Fall Is a Big Opportunity for Buyers

October 5, 2021

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 in the housing market point to a potential opening to buy this fall, housing analysts say.

For one, competition is reportedly cooling and listings are receiving fewer offers. In September, the real estate brokerage Redfin reported that bidding wars 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 is at a high for 2021. 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 two years ago before the pandemic, Hale says.

Hopeful buyers will want to watch days on the market to indicate whether now could be a better time to buy. Buyers will also want to keep an eye out for the median days on the market for neighborhoods, cities, and metro areas, Terri Robinson, a real estate professional with RE/MAX Distinctive in Ashburn, Va., told NerdWallet. “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 also are reporting to her that the demand for walk-and-talks is lessening. A walk-and-talk is an abbreviated home inspection that is completed while a potential buyer is viewing the property. Many home buyers have been waiving formal home inspections to try to compete in the market from multiple offers. But fewer home buyers 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 told NerdWallet.

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