What Is Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) in Real Estate?


A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is a valuable tool in real estate that estimates a property’s price based on recently sold comparable properties. CMAs aid sellers in setting competitive listing prices and help buyers make informed offers. This article explores the significance of CMAs, how they work, key steps in conducting one, and how they differ from appraisals.

Understanding comparative market analysis

A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is a vital tool in the realm of real estate. It functions as a strategic guide for both sellers and buyers, enabling them to make well-informed decisions about property pricing and offers.

How a CMA works

A CMA involves a thorough assessment of a property by comparing it to recently sold homes within the same locality. Key factors taken into consideration include the property’s location, size, style, construction, condition, and other pertinent features. This analysis allows real estate professionals to estimate a fair and competitive price range for the property.

Importance for sellers

For sellers, a CMA provides the foundation for determining an optimal listing price. Striking the right balance is essential—setting a price too high may discourage potential buyers, while pricing too low could mean missing out on fair market value.

Importance for buyers

Buyers can also benefit significantly from a CMA. By comparing a property to recently sold homes, buyers can ensure they’re making a competitive offer and avoid overpaying.


Here is a list of the benefits and drawbacks to consider:

  • Helps sellers set competitive listing prices
  • Assists buyers in making informed offers
  • Guides negotiations with well-grounded data
  • May not account for unique property features
  • Relies on available data, which can be limited
  • Doesn’t replace a certified appraisal for mortgage purposes

Examples of comparative market analysis

Let’s delve into some examples of Comparative Market Analysis to illustrate how this process works in real-world scenarios:


Example 1: suburban single-family homes

In a suburban neighborhood, a real estate agent conducts a CMA for a three-bedroom single-family home. The agent selects three recently sold homes within a half-mile radius with similar features and square footage.

  • Home A: Sold three months ago, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1,800 sq. ft.
  • Home B: Sold two months ago, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1,850 sq. ft.
  • Home C: Sold four months ago, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1,820 sq. ft.

The agent adjusts for differences in size and features, calculates the average sold price per square foot, and determines a recommended listing price for the property.

Example 2: urban condominiums

In an urban setting, a buyer is interested in a condominium. They conduct their own CMA using recent sales data from similar units in the building and surrounding complexes.

  • Unit X: Sold five months ago, one bedroom, one bathroom, 750 sq. ft.
  • Unit Y: Sold three months ago, one bedroom, one bathroom, 800 sq. ft.
  • Unit Z: Sold six months ago, one bedroom, one bathroom, 760 sq. ft.

The buyer accounts for differences in square footage, views, and amenities, helping them determine a reasonable offer price for the condominium.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) – comparative market analysis

Here are answers to common questions about Comparative Market Analysis:

Is a CMA the same as an appraisal?

While both involve property valuation, a CMA is created by agents, brokers, buyers, or sellers and provides an estimated price. An appraisal, done by a licensed appraiser, determines a property’s market value and is typically required for mortgage approval.

What factors does a CMA consider?

A CMA assesses a property’s location, size, age, style, materials, condition, and recent comparable sales to estimate a price.

How does a CMA benefit sellers?

For sellers, a CMA helps establish a fair listing price and ensures the property is competitively priced to attract potential buyers.

Who can perform a CMA?

A CMA can be conducted by agents, brokers, buyers, or sellers; it does not require a state license. However, an appraisal requires a licensed and certified appraiser.

Can a CMA replace an appraisal?

While a CMA is a valuable tool for estimating a property’s price, it is not a substitute for a certified appraisal, which is essential for mortgage approval.

In conclusion, a Comparative Market Analysis plays a pivotal role in real estate by guiding both sellers and buyers in making informed decisions about property pricing and offers. By assessing key factors and recent sales data, a CMA helps establish fair and competitive prices, contributing to successful transactions in the dynamic world of real estate.

Key takeaways

  • A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) estimates a property’s price based on recently sold comparable properties.
  • CMAs assist sellers in setting competitive listing prices and help buyers make informed offers.
  • Location, size, style, condition, and other factors influence the CMA analysis.
  • CMAs are not a substitute for certified appraisals, which are required for mortgage approval.
  • Both buyers and sellers benefit from CMAs in determining fair and reasonable property values.
  • CMA reports include property details, comparables, adjustments, and an estimated price range.
  • CMA vs. Appraisal: CMAs are performed by agents, brokers, buyers, or sellers, while appraisals require licensed appraisers.
  • A well-conducted CMA enhances negotiations and decision-making in real estate transactions.
View Article Sources
  1. Market research and competitive analysis – sba.gov
  2. Research your market – business.gov.au
  3. Supply market analysis – Queensland Government