What is a Buyer’s Market vs Seller’s Market?

If you're interested in the Los Angeles real estate market it's wise to know the difference between a buyer's and seller's market. I'm a Los Angeles-based Realtor with a focus on the Eastside of Los Angeles. We work with a lot of home buyers searching for their forever home and sellers interested in listing their houses on the open market to attract multiple offers and grab a top-dollar sale. Once you finish reading this article you'll be ready to get your feet wet in the Los Angeles real estate market.

Definition of a Buyer's Market

A buyer’s market in real estate occurs when the supply of available homes for sale exceeds the market demand (the number of willing and able homebuyers). If you’re buying a new home, a buyer’s market is the ideal time to start your search. The problem many homebuyers face in Los Angeles is a buyers market isn’t that common because the demand to buy real estate is so high in LA neighborhoods.

But don’t get discouraged. There is always a deal out there and working with a top real estate agent buyer’s specialist is the best insurance policy you can have. And, the best part is you don’t pay your buyer’s agent a dime. The listing agent for the seller shares the listing fee with the buyer’s agent.

Homes that are for sale on the market for longer than 30 days are a good indication the home is priced too high, there are problems with the home’s systems or foundation, or the sellers/tenant is a troublemaker. Whatever the case, if you’re working with a highly skilled Realtor you’re in the best position to sniff out the property problems and save yourself a lot of money or move on before you buy a big headache.

Definition of a Seller's Market

A seller’s market happens when the demand for homes is so large that there are far more homebuyers than homes for sale on the market. We have been on an upswing seller’s market on the Eastside of Los Angeles for many years. Homebuyers looking to buy a property in Los Angeles are most likely priced out of the westside market as the price per square foot is above $1,000.00 in most neighborhoods and as high as $4,000.00.

We have seen multiple offers on almost all desirable properties on the Eastside. What I mean by desirable is homes that are move-in ready, staged, mature landscaping, views, ample storage, good schools, or something else special. Of course, there are always going to be homes that sit on the market for longer periods of time even in a seller’s market. Those are the homes that may need to be reimagined or property systems need updating. This isn’t a big deal as long as you’re working with a local Eastside Los Angeles real estate agent who knows the area well and also has a handful of trusted contractors and handymen.

How Do You Determine if it's a Buyer's Market or Seller's Market?

This is a tricky question in a real estate market like Los Angeles, CA. We don’t have buying and selling seasons, and because we have so much demand for owning a home and a major housing shortage, everyone is scrambling to buy something. The Eastside just north of DTLA (Downtown Los Angeles) seems to be one of the final frontiers for the “hip” areas to buy a home in Los Angeles.

One way to determine if you’re in a buyer’s real estate market or a seller’s real estate market is to have your Realtor send you the available inventory, including the days on the market. This will give you a good idea if the prospective sellers are asking too much money for their properties.

If the inventory is low, it’s a good indication we’re in a strong seller’s market. If we’re flooded with homes for sale, we’re most likely in a buyer’s real estate market. If you’re curious about the real estate market sales in a specific Los Angeles area or neighborhood, contact the Shelhamer Group! We’re happy to put a market statistics report together and help you analyze the current real estate market.


Procrastination, being aware of when you’re maybe procrastinating. If I can’t do something in five minutes that needs to get done in five minutes, I scratch it because I can just get wrapped up and doing busy work all day long.

I’m aiming for specific things and I have large projects on my desk and I have to be mindful about every minute of the day and, and what I’m moving and shaking on.

Think about that, just really think about that as you’re going through your day today. Think about what it is. You really want to get done today, what it is, you need to get done and then what you’re actually doing, you know, you, you, you may be surprised.

Glen Shelhamer

Glenn Shelhamer is a nationally recognized Real Estate leader who has been helping people move in and out of the Los Angeles area for many years. He is also the team lead of The Shelhamer Real Estate Group. When Glenn’s not selling real estate he can be found spending time with his beautiful wife and two terrific kids.