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The real estate tide is turning, according to Fortune Magazine’s Chris Morris. What was once a seller's market, complete with frenzied offers and multiple bidding, is beginning to smooth a bit, becoming what Realtors refer to as a “balanced market” where homes stay on the market a tad longer, and buyers actually have a chance to negotiate.

The National Association of Realtors says existing home sales in January dropped to their lowest level in three years, with existing home sales down 1.2% to an adjusted annual rate of 4.94 million units last month. That’s below analyst expectations and an 8.5% drop from a year ago. According to their stats, only the Northeast saw a rise in sales activity.

And while home prices are still showing increases, they’re nowhere close to the rise we saw in recent years. The median price of an existing house climbed 2.8% in January to $247,500, the smallest increase since February 2012. According to the article, prices have increased for 83 consecutive months, but experts are now saying that trend could be ending. All that means is that buyers now have a chance to participate in the American Dream.

“The number of homes on the market is starting to rise, too, meaning buyers have a wider selection to choose from,” says Morris. “In January, there were 1.59 million previously owned homes on the market, compared to 1.53 million in December. The average home stayed on the market 49 days, a week longer than January 2018.” Forbes real estate also predicts the wave of first-time home buyer demand will be met by somewhat higher inventory levels than in 2018, according to a year-end article by Aly Yale.

Morris goes on to cite the NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun: “Moderating home prices combined with gains in household income will boost housing affordability, bringing more buyers to the market in the coming months.” 

So if you’ve got a house on the market, patience is a virtue, along with pricing it to sell. And if you’re in the market to buy, prepare to have more to choose from.

Source: Fortune, Forbes, NAR, TBWS