What Does Low Inventory Mean for Me? (VIDEO)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA alley in the fall.

What Does Low Inventory Mean for Me?


When we say “low inventory” in Philly real estate, what we’re really saying is that it’s a seller’s market. Low inventory means fewer homes on the market, fewer options for buyers to choose from, and greater demand from a glut of home buyers. This can mean great things if you’re selling your home, but comes with a few words of caution for buyers.


A Seller’s Market

Just as home buying demand tends to fluctuate seasonally, available home inventory tends to come in seasonal waves. Spring and summer are when homes are in the highest demand with the lowest inventory, creating an ideal situation for sellers. This year we have already seen a strong demand for home buyers and a lack of inventory within Center City. For you, low inventory means:


  • A market of hungry, eager buyers competing against each other
  • More buyers capable of meeting your asking price with no compromises
  • Less competition with other sellers on the market

Buyer Beware

Because low inventory markets often favor sellers, it’s an easy opening for buyers to have to pay more than they originally expected to for the home.  Make sure to start looking at homes early to avoid having to settle for less they would ideally want. In particular, first-time homebuyers need to be wary. Watch out for:


  • Vastly overinflated pricing
  • Lack of disclosure about the history of the property
  • Poorly functioning HVAC and internal systems
  • Mold, mildew and other safety issues
  • Damage, wear and tear on exteriors


Lack of home availability, particularly in highly coveted neighborhoods like Rittenhouse Square and the Fairmount, can make you feel as though if you want a home, you have to settle. You should never settle for a substandard home or pay any more than you can afford.


What Buyers Can Do

In a low inventory market, you have a number of options as a buyer to overcome shortage of available homes and find your dream home without stressing. Those options include:


  • Waiting for a more buyer-friendly season, such as fall or winter
  • Working with a realtor to discuss your ideal home and source what works within your budget
  • Exercising patience when watching real estate listings
  • Setting up notifications on listing sites for homes that match your preferences


Patience is the key. Whether you’re waiting for a season when sellers are more desperate to offload their homes or watching for just the right home, buying is a combination of patience and good timing. Wait for the right home — but once you find it, get out there ahead of the competition to get your bid in fast.  Need more tips? Check out this guide for how to buy a home in any season in Philly.

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