What’s the difference between Buyer’s market and Seller’s market?

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You might be wondering when the best time is to buy or sell a home in Australia.

Well, there isn’t one ‘perfect’ time. Rather, the best time to do either will likely depend on your unique personal or financial circumstances, so you can’t always control the timing. For example, you might have accepted a job in a different state, be expecting a new baby or have finally saved a large enough deposit.

That said, the real estate market follows the law of supply and demand. So, in an ideal world, you would purchase a home in a buyer’s market and list your property for sale in a seller’s market.

What’s a buyer’s market?

In a buyer’s market, supply well and truly exceeds demand – so the ratio of buyers to homes is low.

As a result, homes typically stay on the market for longer than average and inventory levels build up, giving buyers more choice.

By contrast, sellers must compete harder to attract potential buyers, which can lead to them lowering their asking prices and offering more flexible terms (such as longer settlements).

Tips for buying and selling in a buyer’s market

Purchasing in a buyer’s market puts the balance of power firmly in your hands. You can take advantage of this when you’re hunting for a new home and during the negotiations by:

  • Taking your time – as there’s less risk you’ll lose out on a property
  • Doing your homework on comparable properties – so you can negotiate a good deal

While being a seller in a buyer’s market can be daunting, this doesn’t mean you have to let buyers walk all over you. That’s because there are things you can do to increase your chances of making the sale in a reasonable timeframe such as:

  • Pricing your property realistically – so it doesn’t linger on the market
  • Doing repairs or maintenance – so you show your home at its best
  • Making sure your property is well-marketed – so it stands out from the crowd

    What’s a seller’s market?

    A seller’s market happens when demand well and truly exceeds supply – so the ratio of buyers to homes is high.

    Unsurprisingly, this ramps up the competition between buyers, putting sellers at an advantage and driving up prices.

    Tips for buying and selling in a seller’s market

    Sellers might have the upper hand when there’s a limited supply of properties on the market, but this doesn’t mean you can’t secure a great deal as a buyer.

    Here are some tips for being a buyer in a seller’s market:

    • Work out your ‘must haves’ versus your ‘nice-to-haves’ – so you can focus your search and not waste time
    • Act fast if you find your dream home – so you don’t miss out
    • Be patient – so you don’t settle and get buyer’s remorse
    • Get home loan pre-approval – so you know what you can afford

    Another reason it can be a good idea to get a pre-approval is because sellers will be more willing to consider your offer, as they know you will be able to complete the purchase.

    Here are some tips for selling during a seller’s market

    • List your home at market value – if your property is overpriced, you still might struggle to attract interested buyers
    • Choose your real estate agent wisely – as they can help you get the best possible price for your property
    • Be prepared to settle quickly – as your home might sell fast

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