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Bidding wars are starting to cool off

Bidding-war rate in markets Redfin operates in nearly on par with September 2020 levels

For the fifth consecutive month the number of bidding wars on home sales declined, according to a new report from brokerage Redfin.

In September, 58.9% of offers written by Redfin agents ended up in a bidding war, the lowest rate so far in 2021 and nearly on par with the September 2020 bidding war rate of 58.3%. A month prior, 60.8% of offers written by Redfin agents faced competition.

The rate of bidding wars hit a peak in April 2021 with 74.3% of offers facing competition.

Although this is a clear sign of a slowing market, housing economists say the changes are along the lines of typical seasonal slowdowns. In addition, with one-third of homes stayed on the market for less than a week and inventory was down 13% from a year prior. Housing economists at Redfin are not concerned that this slowdown could be a harbinger.

“It’s typical to see a decline in competition as families head back to school and the weather cools down,” Redfin deputy chief economist Taylor Marr said in a statement. “Buyers also aren’t having to offer as much above the asking price as they were in the spring, when competition in the housing market was peaking. As mortgage rates continue to rise, we can expect bidding wars to keep slowing.”

Top markets for affordable renovated housing inventory

Despite the rapidly deteriorating affordability, there is some hope for homebuyers in the form of renovated homes: properties that have been rehabbed into move-in ready condition after being purchased at foreclosure auction or bank-owned (REO) auction.

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Of the 45 metropolitan areas analyzed, Raleigh, NC had the highest bidding war rate at 73.9%. The capital of North Carolina was followed by Boston at 71.7%, Indianapolis at 71.4%, Sacramento, CA at 70.5%, and San Diego at 70.3%.

Metro areas that were the most buyer friendly in September, according to Redfin, were Cleveland with a bidding war rate of 44.8%, Virginia Beach, VA at 41.5%, Milwaukee at 24.1% and, Hartford, CT and Sarasota, FL both at 39.1%.

In Jacksonville, FL the bidding war rate dropped from 71.4% in August to 50% in September. Despite this drop, Heather Kruayai, a local Redfin agent, says that things are still busier than in previous years.

“Fall in Jacksonville is historically a slow time, as fewer people are looking to move,” Kruayai said in a statement. “Even though there aren’t as many bidding wars, listings are still selling quickly, so it’s busier than previous years. During the spring and summer, I would get listings that would receive 30 offers within 24 hours of hitting the market and people offering as much as $70,000 over the asking price. That’s not as common now.”