3 Buyer's (or at Least Buyer Friendly) Markets

Inventory down, demand up, bidding wars and rising prices: That’s been the thrust of national news for real estate in the U.S. this summer. But that doesn’t mean buyer’s markets have ceased to exist on the local level, or that the chance to get a good price on a home while interest rates are so low has passed you by.

Today we look at three metros served by ZipRealty in which buyers might still find a) good deals on houses and b) sellers open to a little negotiation. While we can’t guarantee these are 100% “buyer’s markets,” we can at least logically guess they’re "buyer friendly."

1. Atlanta, GA

Atlanta below market sales

© ZipRealty, Inc

These data showcase the percentage of homes being sold for below the seller’s asking price. As you see, though the Atlanta is enjoying fewer homes sold this way, more than 66% of sales still took place by bidding down the original price.

Like much of the country, Atlanta is offering fewer homes for sale. But while other metros post an up to 40% (or more!) reduction, Atlanta as of this June was only down 11.8% (including both single-family homes and condos). The median sold price for properties in June, 2012 was $180K, up a dramatic 42% year-over-year but reasonable indeed compared to more expensive metro areas. As to jobs for Atlanta homebuyers, no one can deny the facts: The city has suffered some stiff unemployment figures. But analysts like the Federal Reserve Board and Monster.com expect infrastructure improvements and a diverse employment pool to help the job market in Atlanta grow through 2012 with an eye toward marked improvement in 2013.

Search the MLS for homes for sale in Atlanta, GA.

2. Austin, TX

Austin Below market sales

© ZipRealty, Inc

Here we track the below asking percentage through the same time period, Jan, '11- May, -12. Clearly, the metro enjoyed something of a turn around with the drastic decline in below market sales. However, you can see that line on the grid starts back up at the end of our survey's duration, and it never dipped below 70%. That means buyers are enjoying considerable negotiating power.

Austin’s inventory this June was down over 37%, year-over-year, a drastic number. The median list was $280K and the median sold was $254K, both numbers up from the previous year but again indicating that buyers can still score homes for less than full list price. And this in Austin, a highly creative, highly musical city that attracts many young families and in fact made Parenting Magazine’s top 10 list as the 2nd best city to raise a family in.

Search the MLS for homes for sale in Austin, TX.

3. Denver, CO

Denver below Market

© ZipRealty, Inc

As with the other metros showcased here (and indeed, all over the country), the percentage of homes being sold at below asking in the Denver metro is way down. But in this case, we're still looking at the overall number, which hasn't (as of May, 2012) dropped below 62%, meaning over half of all transactions did sell for less than asking.

Denver’s inventory this June was also way down, over 46%! But the drastic cut hasn’t, at least by May, made the prospect of a decent price on a home out of the question, as our data show. And in this capital city, the median list price shot up to $304K in June but the selling median was $234, so that's more current proof that bidding less won't lose buyers a home here. Outdoorsy yet thoroughly modern—for example, The Business Journal named Denver a top city for IT professionals seeking jobs—Denver is still buyer friendly.

Search the MLS for homes for sale in Denver, CO.

Further Reading

Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert.