I have a question about how the buy order works on the Steam Market. I will use the following picture for my examples.

enter image description here


Let's say I list my buy order at $11.41, after someone listed the $12.12 price. If a seller puts up the item for $11.41, will I get the item, or will the person who put their buy order higher and before mine receive the item?

Essentially, if the listing price is equal to or lower than the buy order, will the item go to the person with the highest buy order, or the person who placed the buy order first?

People actually sell their items under the top buy order. I've seen CSGO knives sell for pennies when their top buy order is in the hundreds. Here is an example. This knife was sold for $0.14 just a few weeks ago.


This does not function like "basic forex" softwares. I've listed a CS:GO trading card for $0.04 when the highest buy order was $0.05 and I received $0.04 not $0.05.

  • Why would anyone ever sell an item for lower than the price people are already willing to pay for it? I did misread indeed, and removed my previous comment. – Arperum Jan 20 '16 at 16:19
  • You'd be surprised. I see listings go way under what people set the price for. I've seen CSGO knives sell for $3.00 when their top buy order is in the hundreds. – Hunter Turner Jan 20 '16 at 16:20
  • ok, that's just weird indeed. – Arperum Jan 20 '16 at 16:24
  • @HunterTurner I'd love to deal with those that sell at $3 – Judge2020 Jan 20 '16 at 18:01
  • @Judge2020, I know right? Haha. I have like 20 buy orders for knives at $3.00. That's why I wan't to know the answer to this xD. – Hunter Turner Jan 20 '16 at 18:04

So I basically had the same question and found this answer: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/community_market#announcements/detail/1262446774506273812

The buy order with the highest price gets priority for purchasing newly listed items. If there are multiple orders with the same high price, the oldest buy order gets fulfilled first.

So it's supposed to be the highest buy order that gets the priority, but... Yeah, there is a but. I found that there are people that will always get the item, no matter if their buy order is the highest or not. I don't know why or how, but my assumption is they are using some kind of exploit in the buy order system. So it might seem like they get the item because their buy order was 'older' but it's not. I saw them place their buy order after and below mine (meaning it was neither older nor highest) and yet they still bought the low priced item.

I described this with more info (and screenshots) in here: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/community_market/discussions/0/540744934355913062/?ctp=14#c458606248626520515 (and a second post few posts lower)

  • Yeah, I've actually noticed the same thing... So you're definitely right. – Hunter Turner May 19 '16 at 23:48
  • Unless "submitting a buy order and waiting" is an exploit, it's not that, since I don't know any exploits and I've gotten items at lower costs than the highest buy orders plenty of times. – Michaellogg Aug 30 '16 at 20:39
  • I suspect that they were operating in a different currency and their order had simply been ever so slightly more expensive than yours. – user4551 Aug 30 '18 at 16:49

Well, the FAQ tells us the following:

How do buy orders choose which listing to buy?

When you place a buy order, the market first looks for all the cheapest items that can fulfill your order. Then the oldest listing (ie. the seller who has waited the longest) is selected and purchased. If the items are listed in multiple currencies, the amounts are first converted into your currency before being selected (ie a 0.03 RUB listing has no priority over a 0.03 USD listing)

That means, the price you list as a buyer, is the amount you are willing to pay max, but you can get it cheaper, if someone is willing to sell at a cheaper price. An item is always sold at exactly the price, that the seller chose. As the buyer, you can get lucky, if someone offers an item below the amount that you set.

So it basically comes down to the order in which the buyers set their offers. When someone offers to sell his item (in your example for $11.41), then the first person that set a buy order with at least this amount will get it. So in your example the guy with a buy order for $12.12 will get the item for $11.41.

Because of that, it doesn't matter how high the highest buy order is, the item sellers dictate the prices and sometimes people just sell really valuable items at low prices, either because it's an error on their side or they just don't know about the real worth.

  • This is really interesting, because yesterday I decided to test this and I placed a buy order for $6.45, and there were multiple buy orders under mine. About an hour later I got the item I wanted for $6.00, but there were a few buy orders under mine that were placed before mine and greater than $6.00. I don't doubt your answer, I guess people just removed and replaced their orders after I placed mine. I'll still be testing this and I'll keep this page updated with any results I find. – Hunter Turner Jan 21 '16 at 15:32
  • It's also just as possible that several items were sold during that time and they simply got the item before you did. But you should be able to see that in the item statistics. – Bexo Jan 21 '16 at 16:49
  • What's strange is that my purchase doesn't even show in the item statistics. The lowest price listed there yesterday was $6.80 during my purchase time. Maybe the Steam Market is just buggy... – Hunter Turner Jan 21 '16 at 17:10
  • Sorry for changing the accepted answer. But guniu's answer is definitely the behavior that I see within the Steam market. – Hunter Turner Jun 20 '16 at 20:44
  • I have not seen this behaviour yet, but I also didn't use the market for quite some time. If there really is an exploit, lets hope it gets fixed. – Bexo Jun 21 '16 at 6:39

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