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Real estate terms: What is days on market?

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 25, 2020 8:17:09 PM / by Eli Karpovski

Eli Karpovski

Days on market is a calculation of how many days a property has been publicly marketed for sale or rent. This can be a telling number when looking at a property's history.  Many public websites will show if a property was on the market in the past. Most sites will reset the days on market to zero if the property has been off that site for a specific length of time. That time will vary from site to site.

Zillow and Streeteasy, both owned by Zillow Group, will reset the days on market for a property if it is off market for at least 90 days.  Logically a property's days on market shouldn't carry over from one owner selling it to the next. What happens when an owner is not successful in selling more than once? If they take a breather from the market they will get a reset. This is important to analyze when looking at any property. Any good real estate agent will look at a property's history to make sure there isn't something hidden.

Days on market hourglassKeep in mind it's not unusual during market shifts for perfectly good properties to have multiple goes at selling. Sometimes sellers are in disbelief when markets shift from a seller's market to a buyer's market. 

What is a long time to be on the market? It's all relative to the current state of the market. Typical benchmarks for days on market are:

  • In a seller's market
    • Under 30 days the property is still being considered by the market
    • 30-90 days the property is starting to go stale
    • Over 90 days the property is being discounted by the market
  • In a buyer's market
    • Under 60 days the property is still being considered by the market
    • 60- 120 days the property is starting to go stale
    • Over 120 days the property is being discounted by the market

Many people think that once a property is sold the days on market stops. That's not exactly how it works.

Days on market is "paused" when a property is in contract. This means that the property has a committed buyer and is not entertaining other offers. Unfortunately, deals do fall apart and issues can come up. It is important not to rush and take the first best offer as a seller. 

If a deal does fall apart what happens to the days on market?

Here's an example: If a property is on the market for 10 days and then goes into contract, the clock stops for days on market. If that same property is in contract for 30 days and the deal falls through, the days on market is now unpaused. The days on market jumps from 10 days to 40 days. The count will continue till it is in contract again.

Many buyers see larger days on market as an opportunity to get a deal. This depends on the state of the market. If it is a solid seller's market there are high likelihood that there is a backup offer in place. If it's a buyer's market then there may be room for a price reduction. It's best to examine the situation with an expert real estate agent.

Topics: Glossary

Eli Karpovski

Written by Eli Karpovski