DEFINITION of 'Soft Market'

A market that has more potential sellers than buyers. A soft market can describe an entire industry, such as the retail market, or a specific asset, such as lumber. This is often referred to as a buyer's market, as the purchasers hold much of the power in negotiations.

BREAKING DOWN 'Soft Market'

A soft market can lead to rapid drops in prices as sellers compete to find buyers. Prices will fall as the excess of supply over demand increases. For example, assume that 20 houses are put up for sale and 15 possible buyers enter the market. Five of these houses will not be sold, assuming each buyer purchases one house. This forces the 20 house sellers to compete on price in order to attract a buyer. As a result, this type of housing market would be called soft.

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