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Buyers market vs sellers market: what’s the difference?

May 29, 2023
Craig Gibson

Read or heard about a buyer’s or seller’s market and not quite sure what they are?

Then allow us to give you a hand!

This article will not only define these two concepts, but also explain the difference between a buyer’s and seller’s market. We also give you tips on how to make the most of each market depending on whether you are looking to buy or sell. Depending on what you are doing, this can help you maximise your chances of a successful bid, or get the best possible price for your home.

Let’s start by defining a buyer’s market, and what signs to look for.

What is a buyer’s market?

A buyer’s market is when conditions favour the purchaser or buyer. This typically means there are more listings than buyers, which acts to put more pressure on sellers to negotiate or reduce the price of their property. Listings often take longer to sell, so the ‘days on market’ metric reflects this, and prices tend to be more stable in a buyer’s market. If any of the following are occurring, it's likely you are in a buyer’s market:

  • Large number of properties for sale or auction 
  • Properties sell for less than expected
  • Listings spend longer on market
  • Properties sell for less than they were initially purchased for
  • Property prices start to fall
  • Sellers begin to reduce the asking price of their properties, or offer incentives like an extended settlement period

If you are a buyer, how do you make the most of these types of conditions?

How to make the most of a buyer’s market as a buyer

If you are purchasing property in a buyer’s market you still need to be savvy to get a good deal. This means knowing what the true value of the property is, so you don’t make a lowball offer and miss out on it all together. You should also have pre-approval from your home loan provider all sorted out. Sellers may also want to negotiate a little, so don’t expect everything to go your way.

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How to make the most of a buyer’s market as a seller

Equally, you need to be savvy as a seller in this type of market, because you are likely to be competing against many other properties. This means you need to set a realistic price and be prepared to wait longer to sell. You also need to put maximum effort into marketing and presenting your property, so it stands out. This could include spending extra on staging it, and using a professional service. You should also consider adding extra features to your listing, like a video or VR tour of the property - so you stand out!

Let’s now look at the reverse scenario, and what you need to know about a seller’s market. 

What is a seller’s market?

A seller’s market is when there is a relative shortage of property listings compared to the number of people looking to buy. This often creates a real urgency in the market and buyer’s tend to increase their offers or bids to secure a property. Look for these signs to confirm that you could be experiencing a seller’s market:

  • The economy overall is strong 
  • The number of homes listed for sale is comparatively low
  • Properties sell for much higher than the listed price
  • Listings spend comparatively less time on the market
  • Auction clearance rates are high
  • Sellers are reluctant to negotiate or offer an incentives to buyers

How to make the most of a seller’s market as a buyer

If you are buying a home in a sellers market be prepared for some competition - and you really need to have all your ducks in a row. You need to be quick making an offer, and it needs to be fair - and never lower than the asking price. Sometimes offering a sizeable deposit may help sweeten the deal, as will giving the seller extra time to pack up and move out after settlement. 

How to make the most of a seller’s market as a seller

If you are selling your property in a hot real estate market you have the chance to maximise your return on investment. The key is to be patient and not accept the earliest offer you get, though you should be ready to settle quickly when the time comes. With prices moving fast, you also need to keep up with pricing your property competitively - something an experienced real estate agent can help with.  It’s also important to check you have a buyer who has all their finance organised, and doesn’t waste your time. 

If you are wondering if there is a middle ground, where no one set of conditions dominates, the answer is, yes!  This is known as a balanced market, where there is a generous number of listings on the market and a reasonable number of buyers. Property prices tend to be stable and homes sell in an average amount of time.

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Is it a buyer’s market or seller’s market right now?

In most markets around the country, the data suggests that we are in a buyer’s market. Vendors are taking longer to sell their homes and with bigger discounts. Back in June, CoreLogic’s head of research, Tim Lawless, said that there were more homes to choose from among a smaller buyer pool… This was most pronounced in Sydney and Melbourne, but is now spreading nationwide.

If you need a reminder what conditions appear in each market, here is a handy graphic to help you remember what to look for.

Buyer’s market vs seller’s market

You should now have a good overview of each type of market and know how to navigate each depending on whether you are buying or selling. 

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Disclaimer: Blogs are written expressly for education purposes and content is based on the opinions of the authors or as otherwise cited.  All information is current as at publication release and we  take no responsibility for any factors that may change thereafter. Doorsteps Finance Pty Ltd and Doorsteps Solutions Pty Ltd do not accept any liability or responsibility whatsoever to any error or omission or any loss or damage of any kind sustained by a person or entity arising from the use of this information.  It does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice and you should always seek professional advice in relation to your individual circumstances

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Disclaimer: Property reports contain property estimate data and information provided by RP Data Pty Ltd trading as CoreLogic Asia Pacific ABN 57 087 759 171 (CoreLogic) and OpenAgent Pty Ltd, which is general in nature. It is not a professional property valuation or advice to be relied upon. The actual market value of the subject property may differ. We and CoreLogic do not warrant the accuracy, currency or completeness of the data and information to the full extent permitted by law, each excludes all loss or damage howsoever arising (including through negligence) in connection with the information. You rely on the property estimate at your own risk.

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