Buyers across the country have become accustomed over the last few years to expect that once they found the new home they love and want to buy, the next step is to prepare for a bidding war and contending with what could be many multiple offer situations. For the first time in 8 years, however, Redfin reports that 32% of national real estate professionals say they faced one or more competing bids in November, down from 45% a year earlier. That marks an all-time low in bidding wars since the firm started tracking such data in 2011.

In Los Angeles, the numbers are far more dramatic as 68% of properties for sale saw multiple offers a year ago...that is now down to 38%. This is just one more sign that the coming buyers market we have been forecasting is arriving sooner rather than later after years of insufficient inventory and ever-increasing listing prices. However, even with increased inventory in LA, and across most major markets in the U.S., some buyers have simply dropped out of the hunt for the time being. One reason is that mortgage rates rose sharply in September. By October, the average rate on the 30-year fixed was more than a full percentage point higher than a year ago. Rates fell back again in November, but were still higher than a year ago and mortgage applications to buy a newly built home, for example, actually fell 11% year-over-year in November.

We housesellers dug up some interesting stats about how LA compares to other big cities in terms of competing buyers. During the spring selling season this year, three out of four offers in Seattle faced competition. As of November, only about one out of every five offers in Seattle faced competition, the lowest rate among the largest markets tracked by Redfin. In Las Vegas, where sales and prices were roaring last year and this spring, the inventory in November was up 54% from a year ago and sales were down 12%. Interestingly, Philadelphia was the only metro area where buyers faced significantly more competition in November than a year ago and it is one of the few markets where inventory is shrinking and homes are selling faster and for more money.