Housing expert: Buyers 'have the upper hand'

·3 min read

As the housing market cools and returns to pre-pandemic norms, sellers — once in the driver’s seat — now have to readjust.

A new Realtor.com survey found that 92% of sellers accepted some buyer-friendly terms and 41% accepted some contingencies in the contract. This is a stark contrast to the bidding wars and contingency waivers last year and earlier this year.

“We're seeing a shift from a seller's market to a buyer's market for at least a few months and now is the time where buyers can actually ask for more,” Krystle Moore, CEO of Pacific Shore Capital, told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “We're not having to ask for no contingencies or going over list. We're not seeing those things happening anymore, so buyers definitely do have the upper hand.”

A return to normal means that sellers won’t be receiving multiple offers and that homes in need of repair won’t sell as high.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 12: A newly sold home is shown on August 12, 2021 in Houston, Texas. Home prices have climbed during the pandemic as low interest rates and working from home has become more abundant. Home prices around the country continue to surge in the second quarter as strong demand continues to overwhelm the supply of homes for sale. Nationwide, the median single-family existing-home sales price increased by 22.9% in the second quarter. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Credit: Getty Images

“Sellers want the price of yesterday and the buyers want the price of tomorrow,” Kenny Simpson, mortgage advisor at The Simpson Team, told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “If you're a seller, it's becoming a buyer's market. If you're over-listed, you're going to either have to lower the price or take it off the market [because] it's just going to sit there.”

It started as a rough year for homebuyers, which some experts called the worst housing affordability crisis, with low inventory, rising mortgage rates, and competition from institutional investors.

The tide may be turning for buyers finally. For the month of August, the median home price was $435,000 — a decrease from July’s $449,000, according to Realtor.com.

Still, “we're not going to see this massive drop in home prices [because] we have such a shortage of housing,” Moore said.

Although there won’t be a massive drop in home prices, in some areas, inventory is improving — depending on where you’re located.

“In California, we always have an inventory problem, but if you look at places like Utah or Arizona, Texas, Florida, they're just getting more homes listed on the market,” Simpson said. “It's going to be more city by city, state by state.”

Other good news for homebuyers is that sellers are being more flexible with terms.

“As summer comes to an end, buyers are starting to get those reductions — whether that's in 5% off the list price or that's in paying closing costs,” Simpson said. “My advice [to buyers] is get out there and make some offers. If you see a house that's on the market for 30, 45, 60 days, it's because the seller is unrealistic. Don't worry if you upset a seller because they think you're low-balling them because maybe that's the price they're going to have to live with.”

Ronda is a personal finance senior reporter for Yahoo Money and attorney with experience in law, insurance, education, and government. Follow her on Twitter @writesronda

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