Redfin Real-Time Home-Buyer Survey Sees Prices Rising, and Some Buyers Stepping Back

Redfin Real-Time Home-Buyer Survey Sees Prices Rising, and Some Buyers Stepping Back

Seattle, WA – June 5, 2012 – (RealEstateRama) — Redfin, the technology-powered real estate broker, today released the results of a new quarterly survey, “The Redfin Real-Time Home-Buyer Tracker.” For the second quarter of 2012, the survey reached 1,208 Americans in 18 major metropolitan markets seeking to buy a home in the next 12 months, all of whom had toured a home since March 1. Three months prior, Redfin had surveyed 1,457 home-buyers to provide a baseline for comparison.

The major findings are a shift toward a seller’s market as prices begin to stabilize or increase in most areas, and wariness about over-paying in a bidding war:

  • 49% of respondents believe now is a good time to buy, down from 56% last quarter;
  • 28% believe now is a good time to sell, up from 13% last quarter;
  • 58% believe 2012 prices will increase, up from 34% last quarter;
  • 63% cite low interest rates as the reason to buy now, down from 73% last quarter, but still the most popular rationale by a large margin;
  • 60% cite low inventory as a primary reason not to buy this year, down from 63% last quarter, but still the most common complaint by a large margin;
  • 58% of respondents said they were “very interested” in conventional sales, up from 48% last quarter; demand may be broadening beyond bargain-hunters shopping for foreclosures;
  • 71% of respondents who had signed an offer reported facing competing offers; and
  • 64% of all respondents had said they would be “disciplined” in a bidding war, paying only a little more, compared to 27% who said they would not compete at all, with 10% saying they would pay whatever it took.

Home-buyers have taken note that price increases are by no means uniform, with demand strongest in core urban areas and neighborhoods with very good schools. “What surprised me most was the difference in activity between classes of real estate,” said survey-respondent Ben Mahnke. “In Boston metro, entry-level condos in the urban core are seeing a lot of demand. But higher-priced single-family houses in the bedroom suburbs have been sitting unsold for years. The market is coming back, but only selectively.”

But in the city, especially in Boston, Washington DC and California, the competitive dynamics can be intense. “We put two offers in on the day of or the day after the first open house and lost both,” said Laila Kassis, a would-be home-buyer in the Boston area. “One had seven offers, three above asking with high down payments. Our other offer was for $11,000 above asking with pre-approval for a higher amount. We still lost to an all cash offer. Who ties up $750,000 all cash in real estate? I was shocked. We went to another first open house and the property was already under agreement before the listing had even been marketed. They were just holding the open house for backup offers. Crazy.”

Some buyers are stepping back from the competition. “I was very surprised at how few choices there are in our price range and how bad the houses looked,” said Maura Nicastle, a respondent in the Washington DC Area. “I think for the next few years we are better off making do in our small home. I don’t want to pay more, only to have to start all over again refurbishing a place. Our house will sell fast, so finding one is the much bigger issue.”

About The Redfin Real-Time Home-Buyer Tracker
Redfin conducted the survey May 23 – May 30, 2012, soliciting 5,851 home-buyers who had toured properties with a Redfin agent since March 1, excluding anyone who did not indicate an intention to buy a home in the next 12 months or who had responded to Redfin’s previous survey. Twelve hundred and eight1,208 people responded across 18 metropolitan markets in the U.S.: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Orange County, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC. The prior survey was conducted February 22 – 29, 2012, soliciting 6,062 active Redfin home-buyers, with 1,457 responses. The full report, including charts and graphs, is available at www.redfin.com/tracker. To see data segmented by market, or to contact for respondents in different segments, contact .

About Redfin

Redfin (www.redfin.com) is the real estate industry’s first online brokerage, combining a customer-focused team of real estate agents with online tools for making the process of buying or selling a home easy. Redfin’s agents handle every facet of a transaction, including tours, pricing analyses, negotiations, inspections and closings. Redfin is the only major search site to feature listings direct from broker databases as well as for-sale-by-owner and foreclosure properties from across the Internet. The company pays its agents customer-satisfaction bonuses, not commissions, and surveys every client, publishing each survey alongside the agent’s complete deal history. Redfin’s service is available in the metropolitan areas of Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, OR, Seattle, Washington DC, New York’s Long Island and Westchester County as well as most of California, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego. To keep track of our daring exploits, subscribe to blog.redfin.com or our Twitter feed @redfin.

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