is bargain time for home buyers
years of stormy real estate markets appear to have created an ideal climate for
bargain-minded house hunters who know where to look.
Real estate experts say a switch in the psychology of the housing market has helped
buyers to see the silver lining around the housing market storm cloud and usher
in the fine shopping weather.
"We are now in a solid buyer's
market," says David Lereah, chief economist
for the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
"It has been a seller's market for many
years, but now we are seeing people across the
country making deals and bringing prices down."
of confidence on the part of real estate
investors triggered the psychological switch,
he says. "What happened was, investors
pulled out in droves, and the housing markets
went dead," Lereah says. "When the
investors stopped buying, regular buyers got
That fear drove
many house hunters to the sidelines, waiting to see what would happen -- worrying
that housing prices would continue to fall.
"At the same
time, sellers refused to bring their prices down, and so buyers had no real incentive
to get back in the market," Lereah says. "With everybody sitting on
the sidelines, the market came to a standstill."
With a dearth of buyers,
realized they would have to make concessions
on their sale prices.
"Now they are making deals," Lereah
If the downturn was simply a product of a short-term
panic, things would likely be back to normal by now. But Mickey Levy, chief economist
at Bank of America, points out that the market is also suffering from an oversupply
of homes created by an overzealous homebuilder community.
demand is picking up, there is still that large supply overhang," he says.
"And while the numbers are starting to come up for sales, prices still have
a bit to drift before they start rebounding."
And with a listless housing market, savvy buyers in many markets across the country
are finding themselves in the best position they have been in for nearly a decade
when it comes to price negotiations. Levy does warn, however, that not all sellers
will be in a dealing mood.