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How to Tell Whether the Housing Market Is Cooling Off

The market is cooling, but buyers should bide their time before jumping in.

Supply is catching up.

Supply is catching up.

Photographer:David Paul Morris/Bloomberg 

The housing market has turned in the past few weeks. We're probably looking at a cooling-off period rather than something nastier, but both possibilities lead to the same conclusion for would-be homebuyers: Be patient.

It makes more sense to wait to see how much the market will loosen rather than rushing in now at the first sign of improvement. Buying conditions are likely to be more favorable in a month or two than they are today.