When you're ready to buy a home, the market conditions you encounter will partly be determined by your price range. First-time home buyers looking for an affordable, entry-level home will find very different conditions than someone looking to spend $750,000 on a house. Why is that? Well, the short answer is inventory. How many available homes there are in a particular price range will dictate how much competition buyers encounter and how fast prices are rising or falling. These days, for example, the high end of the housing market is better balanced than the lower tiers. In fact, according to new numbers from the National Association of Realtors' consumer website, the inventory of homes available for sale above $750,000 is up nearly 5 percent year-over-year. On the other end of the market, the inventory of homes under $200,000 is down 10 percent from last year. That means, first-time and entry-level home buyers should prepare for a more competitive market than buyers of more expensive homes. And, with falling mortgage rates motivating more mid-market buyers, there is concern that inventory levels – which had recently begun to improve – may have trouble keeping up with future demand from buyers. More here.