PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Local residents who are tired of paying those high rent prices may be thinking about buying a house. Real estate agents say potential buyers have more choices these days. Those for sale signs are staying up longer.

Brook Simmons, 15 year real estate agent says, “we are in a shift from a sellers market to a buyers market.”

If you’ve noticed a lot more “for sale” signs around bay county these days…there are.

“The number of listing are extremely high,” Simmons states. “1,958 houses are active right now, we have not seen those numbers in a couple of years.”

Those days of people paying above the listing price seem to be gone. That buying frenzy was fueled by out of town buyers, many of whom paid cash.

Simmons continues, “we would find a house but because there were so many people that were making offers on the property we would make and offer but we would lose the offer because we didn’t have the best offer.”

Simmons and her firm used to work with %50 buyers and %50 sellers. That ratio has dropped to %30 buyers within the last year. The shift is not always clear. Sellers don’t realize the market is shifting and may not be motivated to sell.

Simmons says. “the amount of houses up for sale determines where the shift is heading,” “we determine the market by the months of inventory. The months of inventory is 3.65 right now for residential real estate and it is slowly going up so we are headed towards a shift. Six months of inventory is a neutral market anything above 6 months of inventory is a buyers market and that’s where we’re headed.

Higher interest rates may also be part of the reason for the slow-down. Simmons says there are still some bargains available.

“It ranges from, there are damaged houses from hurricane Michael that are still selling for under a hundred and then you got homes as high as five million.” Simmons states.

Simmons expects to see a shift to more of a buyers market in the coming months.