Multiple Offers Return as Buyers are Back

Record tight inventories are making it increasingly difficult for growing numbers of buyers, who are creating multiple-bid environments in markets that haven’t seen buyers battle over homes in six years.

Buyers are back but sellers aren’t, especially in Western markets recovering from large volumes of foreclosures. The result is that inventories are still tightening as the fall buying season ends. Buyers are fighting over what’s available, often to the benefit of those sellers who took a risk in this year’s evolving marketplace.

Prices are reported to be on the uptrend with 62 percent of REALTORS® reporting constant or increasing prices compared to the same time a year ago, according to the National Association of REALTORS’® (NAR) REALTOR® Confidence Index that was released recently.

Buyer demand is reported to be growing faster than supply, and many REALTORS® are reporting multiple offers.  However, buyer traffic is still well above the moderate level, but seller traffic is flat, according to the NAR survey. First-time homebuyers accounted for 34 percent of total buyers. Normally first-time buyers are in the neighborhood of 40 percent of total residential sales, according to NAR’s Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

A majority of the 145 markets monitored by NAR Research experienced slower foot traffic in May of this year relative to the same time in 2011. The data, provided by SentriLock, LLC., is based on the total number of visits to properties as recorded on electronic clock boxes. Foot traffic was lower over the 12 months ending in May in 60 percent of the markets, while 35 percent expanded and 5 percent were unchanged. This moderating pattern suggests a broad based decline in the late spring following an equally broad-based expansion in the late spring/summer of 2011 and early spring of this year.

Multiple bids are changing the playing field in a number of markets this spring and summer. Many agents new to the business who have little experience with them are dealing with a sudden and unexpected competition for homes brought about by inventors more than 20 percent below those of a year ago.

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