Real Estate Market

Year of the Dragon lighting fire under sellers

(2/29/2012) - The Year 2012 is preordained to be a historic year -- for better or for worse -- and there's already something strange in the neighborhood.

A recent survey says a growing number of sellers are actually willing to competitively price their home to sell and they aren't going about it kicking and screaming.

How is this possible?

A. The Year 2012's now-or-never doomsday scenario is scaring sellers straight.

B. Sellers are concerned the presidential election year will cause buyers to fixate on Republican primaries, caucuses, straw polls and debates all year.

C. The Year of the Dragon is lighting a fire under home sellers' asset -- the larger one?

Not "A." We know the world isn't going to end. Google it.

Nor "B." The vast majority of home buyers are Democrats and Independents. Republicans get their homes handed down to them by their 1 Percenter parents. (Hey! If Republicans can't take a joke, maybe a Republican president in the White House isn't such a good idea after all.)

Then it's "C." It's got to be the Year of the Dragon. Believe it or not, that makes a lot of sense, especially if you believe in astrology.

It's not just the year of any old dragon. It's the Year of the Water Dragon.

According to Chinese astrology, water has a calming effect on a dragon's fire-breathing temperament. Water turns fiery breath into the a more calming sauna-like essence, allowing the dragon to reflect, redirect its energy and become more perceptive and accepting.

Rather than a winged beast aggressively roaring ahead, singeing everything in its path, the water dragon alights to perch and patiently evaluate the situation.

The water dragon submerges itself in research, mulls over the situation and is willing to see other points of view.

As a result, sellers water down home prices. Okay, you got us. It was a long way to go.

The spirit of the dragon could be an influence, but foreclosures and short sales, comprising 30 percent of the resale market in the fourth quarter 2011, are probably a more intimidating force behind home sellers' lower prices.

Coldwell Banker Real Estate says home sellers are "getting real" about real estate in 2012. More than half (51 percent) of Coldwell Banker's surveyed real estate agents said sellers are more willing to price their homes competitively than they were this time last year.

That's because of the competition.

Foreclosures and short sales sold for discounts averaging 15 to 20 percent in the fourth quarter last year, helping push the median existing single-family home price down to $163,500, 4.2 percent lower than the fourth quarter 2010 median of $170,600, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

But those lower prices are translating to greater sales. Total fourth quarter 2011 existing-home sales - single-family and condos - increased 9.2 percent above the pace during the fourth quarter of 2010.

"Sales have risen strongly in lower price ranges from one year ago, while sales at the upper end remain sluggish," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist.

"More importantly, we're seeing a consistent trend of declining inventory, which means supply and demand conditions are becoming more balanced in more areas, which will help stabilize home prices," Yun added.

Get the complete Coldwell Banker survey results from "Survey Reveals Sellers More Willing to Price Competitively,"

Gung Hay Fat Choy!


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