This fall is good market for buyers, sellers and even renters

Q. We want to sell our house and relocate. Should I wait until spring to put the house on the market because prices could be higher?

A. Fall is typically is a slow time for selling real estate, but this isn’t true in today’s market. We are seeing is a frenzy of buyer activity and multiple offer scenarios driven by a lack of inventory.

According to a August housing report, new listings are down 12 percent and available inventory declined 36 percent from August 2019 to this August. That means 500,000 fewer homes on the market overall compared to last year.

Though demand is much more intense than it normally is this late in the buying season, the typical home asking price has likely peaked for the year. It’s difficult to imagine that the housing market will be able to sustain the frenzied demand we are currently experiencing, but we have yet to see a sign of slowing. Buyer demand is outpacing the record levels from earlier in the year.

A big part of the buyer frenzy are the low interest rates. We have historically low rates that you probably won’t see again. With any good economic news, the rates will start to go up. Smart buyers are taking advantage of the market because of the low payments they will have with these low rates.

If you are ready to put your home on the market, I’d say go for it now.

Q. I have been trying to compete in this seller’s market in the area where I want to live, but I need to save more money for a down payment to really get what I want. I would rather rent than get a starter house in a location that isn’t where I want. How is the market for renters?

A. Luckily for you, the rental market is softening. Before the pandemic, rent growth was accelerating. It was a challenge for tenants to get into a good affordable rental. Now the landlords are trying to attract new tenants.

One thing they are doing is offering concessions. Some of the incentives could be your choice in new décor that they are putting in, such as flooring or paint color. They also might allow you to pay off the deposit over months instead of having to come up with the whole thing at once. Or, they might bend on a no-pet policy.

The most popular incentive, though, are free weeks. For instance, you can pay the first month and get the second month or part of it free.
These attractive incentives are offered before the landlord decides to lower the rent. Many landlords prefer to offer a concession rather than cut the rent and set a precedent that could stay in place when the market picks back up. But as a potential buyer, you or your realtor might be able to negotiate the rent instead of the incentives.

Though the pandemic is a terrible time for many things, it is a good time for real estate. It is good for buyers because of low interest rates. And it is good for sellers because they can realize more money for their homes. And it is a good market for renters. This rarely happens.

Lynne French is a Realtor with Compass Real Estate and captain of the Lynne French Team. Contact her at or 925-672-8787.

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