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Homebuyers face far fewer bidding wars as the housing market cools off

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  • Just 16 percent of buyer offers written by real estate brokerage Redfin during the first three weeks of March faced a bidding war.
  • Last year, it was 6 in 10.
  • The supply of homes for sale at the lower end of the market is still tight, however. As the market gets busier this spring, and more buyers look to take advantage of lower mortgage rates, bidding wars will likely increase.

Homebuyers are less likely to get into bidding wars now that the housing market has cooled off a bit.

During the first three weeks of March, a mere 16 percent of buyer offers written by real estate brokerage Redfin faced a bidding war. That is a sharp drop from the 61 percent a year earlier. Redfin operates in more than 85 major U.S. metropolitan markets.

Homes are also staying on the market on average two days longer than during February 2018. This is the largest annual increase since January 2015 and the first annual increase in February since 2011. February generally marks the start of the spring housing market.

Of course, competition varies by market. While San Francisco, Boston, San Diego and Portland, Oregon, see about 1 in 5 offers in a bidding war, those are all down from over 65 percent of offers a year earlier.

“At this time last year, in cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Boston it was rare for a home not to receive multiple offers. The tide has turned,” said Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s chief economist. “Since the market began to cool down last fall, the number of homes for sale has grown each month, giving buyers more options and more negotiating power. Buyers are searching with less urgency and more frequently able to win offers with contingencies.”

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