Posted in: Buying a home

Why the seasonal home buying trends don’t apply to you

A family enjoying an fall day

Key insights

  • The spring is typically touted as the seasonal high point for the market, but this fall may be a smart time for buyers to enter (or re-enter) the market.
  • While sellers are still at an advantage, the inventory shortage is not as extreme as it was throughout the spring and summer of 2021.
  • If inventory continues to balance out, buyers may experience less competition — and a better chance of having their offer accepted.

We’ve all seen the news stories, where dozens of homebuyers descend onto a just-listed property and make their offers. When homes are selling in mere hours and for over the listing price, it’s easy for would-be buyers to grow frustrated. But as we move further into fall, the market seems to be going through a subtle shift — one that could help frustrated buyers find their dream homes, at last.

A return to a more balanced market?

First, the facts: Home prices are still rising and homes are still selling at a rapid pace. However, the latest local data does show a small bright spot for eager buyers: After a lowpoint last spring, when inventory was down nearly 44%, last month’s data shows that inventory in the 13-county metro area is catching up; it’s now down 20% from 2020 numbers. This is the closest that 2021’s inventory has come to matching 2020’s numbers.

Of course, this data means that there are still many more buyers in the market than there are homes for sale. It could also indicate that buyers will face a bit less competition as they search for homes.

“We are not at a place of balance for buyers and sellers yet. But as inventory gets closer to reaching parity, it could mean that homebuyers feel less pressure to make extremely high bids, or that they are only up against 3 or 4 offers instead of 15,” explains Edina Realty President Sharry Schmid. “This kind of shift won’t give every buyer their pick of homes, but it could help them end a frustrating, months-long search.”

Is fall a smart time to buy a home?

Spring is typically the height of the housing market, and that was certainly true in 2021. Buyers who had been delaying a move were suddenly in desperate need of more space for distance learning, home officing and more — and they entered an already-crowded market with an inventory shortage. The result was a frenzied market, filled with stress and disappointment for some buyers who bid on home after home with no luck.

Now, as some children return to school and parents return to their places of work, it seems likely that the number of buyers will drop as we head into the fall and holiday months. If inventory continues to move toward parity, buyers across Minnesota and Wisconsin could find that this fall is an easier time to buy than last spring or summer. Last, these late-2021 buyers may be the last to take advantage of extremely low interest rates, as some experts predict rates will go up in 2022.

“I know the summer was difficult for many buyers who felt priced out of homes or outbid time and again. With today’s low interest rates, continued gains in inventory and a more manageable pace of sales, this fall could offer a more accessible housing market, even if it’s still not easy,” says Schmid.

What should fall buyers expect?

Buyers may not experience a cutthroat environment this fall, but they should still be prepared to act fast while staying patient.

For buyers who hope to close on a home this fall or early winter, it’s important to:

  • Connect with a REALTOR® who has a vast professional network and intel on properties coming soon.
  • Book a showing as soon as you are able.
  • Attend open houses of homes that have just been listed.
  • Make a fast, fair offer if you are interested in a property.
  • Have a backup offer ready, if you are able.
  • Talk with your REALTOR® about the contingencies you’d like to include or exclude in your offer.
  • Be prepared to move on quickly, if your offer isn’t accepted.

Ready to get in the game?

With a smart strategy and the right Realtor, buyers may find this fall is the right time to buy. If you’d like to get into the market before the spring’s big rush, reach out to Edina Realty or your agent today for assistance.

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Status Definitions

For sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Coming soon: Properties which will be on the market soon and are not available for showings.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings