Surprised by High Asking Prices? Here’s Why It’s Happening

Daniele S. Gordon | June 10, 2024

Have you been shocked by the sky-high asking prices in today’s market? If so, you’re not alone. Many people are wondering why home prices are surpassing comparable home sales (or “comps”). Let’s dive into what’s going on and why this is happening.

First things first, if you’re in the market to buy or sell a home, you’ve likely heard about comps. Comps are recent sales of similar homes in the area, and they help determine a fair market price. But lately, you might have noticed that asking prices are soaring way above these comps. What gives?

Low Housing Inventory

The primary reason for these high asking prices is the current low housing inventory. Simply put, there are not enough homes on the market to meet the demand. When inventory is low, and buyers are many, prices naturally go up. It’s basic economics: high demand + low supply = higher prices.

High Demand Driving Bidding Wars

In today’s market, high demand is driving intense bidding wars. It seems like every house is calling for 'highest and best' offers, meaning buyers are often willing to pay more than the asking price just to secure a home. This competitive atmosphere pushes prices even higher.

Imagine walking into a store, and there’s only one item left that everyone wants. Naturally, you might be willing to pay more to ensure you get it. The same principle applies to the housing market right now. With fewer homes available, buyers are stepping up their game, which means sellers (and their agents) are confident in listing prices higher than what recent comps might suggest.

Why Are Sellers Exceeding Comps?

Given the low inventory and high demand, sellers are pushing the envelope with their asking prices. They know that buyers are out there, eager and ready to compete. Even if the comps suggest a lower price, the current market conditions give sellers the leverage to ask for more.

For instance, if the comps in a neighborhood suggest a home should be priced at $400,000, a seller might list it for $450,000. Why? Because they believe the demand will justify the higher price, and they might even spark a bidding war that drives the price up further.

The Role of Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents play a crucial role in this process. They analyze the market trends and advise their clients on pricing strategies. In a low inventory market, agents know that they can set higher asking prices because the competition among buyers is fierce. They also guide buyers on how to navigate these waters, ensuring they make offers they’re comfortable with and that reflect the home’s value in this competitive environment.

Buyers, Be Smart with Your Offers

For buyers, it’s essential to stay grounded. While it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy, remember to submit offers that you’re comfortable with. Overpaying for a home can have long-term financial implications. Work closely with your real estate agent to understand the true value of a property and make informed decisions.

A Real-Life Example

Let’s consider a real-life scenario. Jane and John, a young couple looking to buy their first home, found a house listed at $475,000. The comps suggested it should be closer to $430,000. However, because of the low inventory and high demand, they decided to offer $480,000 to outbid other interested buyers. They were successful in securing the home but made sure it was within their budget and long-term financial plans.

Final Thoughts

In today’s market, high asking prices are becoming the norm due to low housing inventory and high demand. Sellers are confident in setting prices above comps, knowing that buyers are willing to compete. As a buyer, stay informed, work with a knowledgeable real estate agent, and make offers that you’re comfortable with.

So, next time you’re surprised by a high asking price, you’ll know exactly why it’s happening. Happy house hunting!


My focus has been to assist my clients in making the best decision in one of the most important financial and emotional investments in their lives.

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