These 3 Housing Markets Will Have You The Least Rushed To Buy Right Now

If you've looked around the housing market lately, you're likely aware it's hotter than a typical U.S. summer. Like the market for new and used cars, all those months spent at home thumb-twiddling have Americans ready to put life back into mad, frantic motion. The professionals at Realtor estimate that homes across the country are on only the market for a single month — 31 days is the median. Those aren't quite fire-sale numbers, but they indicate that the market slowing ever-so-slightly over the past few months, is still red hot.

A deeper dive into the numbers reveals that, while the markets are still on a tear, nearly irrespective of geography, there are places in the country where houses are lingering longer on the market — which inevitably works out to a buyer's advantage. This information could be helpful if you intend to move from your current location or are interested in investing in property elsewhere. 

1. Columbia MO

Columbia, MO, is experiencing a slowdown at the moment and therefore sits in the eighth position on Realtor's list of where homes are selling fastest across the nation. Experts at Inman use the Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) as a guideline since it measures sales of houses based on contracts signed. The PHSI uses a scale of 100; based on that, sales were at 99.3% last April, compared to 9.1% a year earlier.

That said, Columbia's local NBC affiliate, KOMU, reports that prices continue to rise even as the market slows down in the region. Situated in Boone County, Columbia, real estate professionals still consider the city a seller's market. The reasons cited include low-interest rates and a shortage of actual products. Lower interest rates stimulate demand, and diminished inventory creates the classic supply-demand model. According to the report, houses are most scarce in the $150,000 to $300,000 range, which represents a jump of 12% from the previous year.

2. Portland, ME

A mere 95 miles from Manchester, NH — where real estate sales remain the hottest anywhere in the continental USA — is the charming coastal city of Portland, ME. And guess what? Portland sits at number nine on the list. Home sales across the state are on the rise, says MaineBiz, by some 15%. When asked to explain the slowdown, local real estate professionals have pointed to everything from recession fears and climbing interest rates to geopolitical problems outside the country. 

The steady decrease has hit the strata of Portland's home markets, and they say sales volume has lost momentum alongside prices and numbers of closed deals in the metropolitan and surrounding areas. That's a substantial decrease from the highs reached in 2021 when the country was reopening and responding to a new administration in Washington D.C. with early optimism. Prices increased more than 50% in a single year during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a full-fledged crash appears unlikely, say the brokers. 

3. Worcester MA

Prices across the South, the Southwest, and the Western states remain relatively stable. If you're looking for the highs and lows on the list, most remain strewn across the eastern portion of the country. With the exceptions of Raleigh, NC, number two on the list, and Nashville, TN, at number seven. Head down from Portland to Worcester, MA, and you'll find homes that begin to tilt in the direction of favoring buyers. This list reports where homes were selling quickest, and Worcester sits at the bottom of the Top 10, more than respectable by any measure. CNN Business reports that higher financing costs and rising mortgage rates may be partly to blame. The current slowdown is assessed as an inevitable hangover from a high that was unsustainable over time.

In Worcester, local station Boston 25 News says that the market has put homes out of reach for many. They cite quick turnovers, bidding wars, and spiking prices throughout Boston's suburbs as far away as Cape Cod. And although it may be at the bottom of the list and therefore offering the most wriggle room for buyers, area realtors predict prices will jump another 8.2% and sales to soar another 8.4% sometime in the coming year.