buyers market

Could this be your new home? Read on for everything you need to know about a “buyers market.” (Getty Images)

Real-estate prices went soaring sky-high in recent years, with the StreetEasy Manhattan Price Index peaking in 2017. But since that peak, price levels in New York, especially in Manhattan, have started to fall as buyers refuse to cough up for what sellers are asking. So the market has pivoted in favor of the buyer, creating what is often referred to as a “buyers market.” You’ll hear it referred to a lot, but what does it really mean? Let us explain.

What Is a Buyers Market?

A buyers market typically occurs when there are more homes for sale than there are shoppers who want to purchase them. And that means buyers have more power in the negotiation than sellers do.

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People are calling it a buyers market right now because, since the 2017 peak in the StreetEasy Price Index, housing inventory has started to pile up — in fact, NYC homes stayed on the market for a median of 83 days in the third quarter of 2019, according to our latest data. That’s the longest average length of time since way back in 2012.

“When we look at it statistically, we see a lot of inventory right now, so a lot of choices for buyers,” says Grant Long, StreetEasy’s senior economist. “We also see a lot of sellers making price cuts and units selling below their asking prices. For homes that do sell, we see them spending a longer time on the market before they find a buyer. All of those factors combined create a buyers market.”

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What Does a Buyers Market Mean for Me?

Besides having more choices when house-hunting, a buyers market also means shoppers have leverage. According to Debra Shultz, senior mortgage banker at Citizens Bank in Manhattan, “you might be able to negotiate the price down a bit, since there’s typically a lack of competition, versus having to fight tooth-and-nail in a bidding war with a higher offer in a sellers market.”

But regardless of what type of market the real-estate world is experiencing, “there’s no right or wrong time to buy,” says Long. “Buying is entirely a personal choice. The fact that it’s a buyer’s market just makes it more important to be informed and be ready to make a competitive offer.”

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Inspired to find your next place in New York? Whether you’re looking to rent or to buy, search NYC apartments on StreetEasy.