3 Things Home Sellers Should Know About This Market

Three things homeowners looking to sell need to be aware of.

You have less competition. And, in the healthiest markets, a negotiating edge. In January, the months' supply of homes for sale (the time needed to sell all inventory at the current sales pace) fell to its lowest level since the peak of the boom, in July 2006. The number of existing homes for sale hasn't been this low since 2004.

Entry-level homes will sell fastest. That's especially true of homes in pristine condition located near job centers. In January, existing homes priced less than $250,000 ex­perienced double-digit increases in sales over the previous year in all regions except the West, where sales fell from unusually high levels the year before.

The market for condominiums is improving. For the first time since 2004, the supply of condos for sale is about the same as the supply of single-family homes. Both markets are roughly balanced between buyers and sellers.

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Patricia Mertz Esswein
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Esswein joined Kiplinger in May 1984 as director of special publications and managing editor of Kiplinger Books. In 2004, she began covering real estate for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, writing about the housing market, buying and selling a home, getting a mortgage, and home improvement. Prior to joining Kiplinger, Esswein wrote and edited for Empire Sports, a monthly magazine covering sports and recreation in upstate New York. She holds a BA degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minn., and an MA in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University.