You Won’t Believe How Quickly the Average Home Is Selling in 2017

exterior of new home
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Looking for a home this winter? Get ready to act fast.

An annual report from the National Association of Realtors reveals the median home is listed for sale for just three weeks before getting scooped up.

Just five years ago, that timeline was closer to 11 weeks, Bloomberg and others have reported. Homes haven’t sold this quickly since NAR started tracking how long homes sit on the market way back in 1987.

Meanwhile, buyers typically spend 10 weeks searching for the perfect home.

“Due to suppressed inventory levels in many areas of the country, buyers are typically purchasing more expensive homes as prices increase,” the report says. “Buyers continue to report the most difficult task for them in the home buying process is just finding the right home to purchase.”

That limited inventory means there’s stiff competition for available homes, with buyers typically paying 98% of the asking price. So much for bargains.

Nearly 8,000 people who purchased a home between July 2016 and June 2017 responded to NAR’s survey.

How to Get Your Dream Home Before Someone Else Does

How can a buyer stay competitive in a seller’s market?

If you’ve ever watched a home-flipping show on HGTV, you probably get the feeling that cash is still king. You may not have $200,000 sitting in your bank waiting for the perfect house, but some other buyer might.

If you haven’t already figured out a reasonable down payment that fits your budget or you’re still trying to save, it’s time to prepare for real estate battle. That might mean accepting help from loved ones, looking at smaller homes or resisting the urge to stay in a bidding war that takes you out of your budget. You might get flat-out rejected a dozen times before you finally buy something, let alone a house you love.

If you’re not sure you’re ready to plunk down cash — and maybe more of it than you planned — for a home, it might be worth waiting a few years. “The unfortunate reality is that the nation’s homeownership rate will remain suppressed until entry-level supply conditions increase enough to improve overall affordability,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement.

Lisa Rowan is a senior writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

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