Buying a home in the spring and summer these days looks like something you'd see out of "The Hunger Games." For sellers, it's the golden opportunity to get the most return on their real estate investment. Buyers, on the other hand, might feel like they're in a gladiator ring.
A lack of affordable homes in many markets, along with fierce competition, rising prices and higher mortgage rates, have sidelined many buyers this year. That was evidenced in July by a continued slump in existing-home sales, which crawled to their slowest pace in two years, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.
As summer fades to fall, though, recent market shifts could give buyers a leg up in the latter part of the year. In July, for instance, the national inventory of homes listed above $350,000 rose 5.7 percent, according to new data from Realtor.com. The inventory swell is mostly in markets that have seen continual price growth that's starting to decelerate. In fact, 16 major housing markets had a year-over-year increase in their inventory levels, Realtor.com found.
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These slight changes, along with less buyer competition and sellers eager to get to the closing table before the holidays, could give serious buyers more latitude, says Danielle Hale, Realtor.com's chief economist.
"Make no mistake: It's still a sellers market in many places, but we're starting to see the tide shift," Hale says.