By Rita Coffey
2018 President, Massachusetts Association of Realtors®
You’ve probably heard the news by now that it’s a sellers’ market. Do you know what that means? And more importantly, do you know how that impacts you when it comes to buying your first home? With a little understanding, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a homeowner.
Whether you’ve started, or hope to start, the home buying process can be exciting and scary at the same time. There is a lot going on and working with a good local Realtor® is your best bet to make sure you find the best home for you. And the more educated you are, the better you’ll be able to understand and move through the home buying process. Learning about current market conditions is a good place to start.
In July 2018, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors® reported there were 3.0 months of supply of single-family homes and 2.0 months of supply of condominiums available for sale. What months of supply measures is the number of months it would take to sell all the available homes that are currently listed for sale. So, why is it currently a "sellers' market?" These definitions will give you some reference:
- A sellers' market is when there is less than 6.5 months of supply;
- A buyers' market is when there is more than 7.5 months of supply; and
- A balanced market is that space between 6.5 and 7.5 months of supply
As you can see, it's typically either a sellers’ market or a buyers’ market. The name of the market generally describes who benefits the most from the current conditions. With months of supply so low, it is the seller who is generally going to benefit from greater competition among buyers in today's market.
So, where does this sellers' market leave you? From the start, you need to know that there will be more competition among buyers. You need to make sure you’re in the best position possible to make an offer that the seller ultimately takes. One way to do this is to be pre-approved for a loan and have the pre-approval letter in hand. If you have a MassHousing loan, then you'll have that pre-approval letter. It is also good to be flexible as possible when it comes to closing dates. And the fewer conditions you add to the transaction, the greater your chances for success. Again, this is where your Realtor® can help guide you.
While the sellers' market describes the market condition across the state as a whole, each city and town, neighborhood and street, and sellers are different. Stay committed to the process and you'll eventually find that home you’ve been looking for. And just keep in mind that regardless of the market, it is always a good time to buy (or sell) if it’s right for YOU.