Home Sellers Sit Tight, Leaving Buyers to Fight for Scraps

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In February 2012, we began a quarterly survey of our customers to develop a real-time portrait of how active home buyers feel about the market.

Today, we’re launching a companion report, based on a survey of active home sellers on Redfin. For one week beginning last Wednesday (August 10 to August 15, 2012), we surveyed 1,836 people who had used Redfin in the last three months and indicated that they were homeowners. We excluded results from anyone who did not indicate an intention to sell their home. Eight hundred and sixteen people responded across 20 metropolitan markets in the U.S.: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Orange County, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Riverside / San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC.

With the number of homes for sale down dramatically from just a year ago—dropping 50% or more in California—and bidding wars breaking out in some areas for the few desirable homes that have hit the market, everyone is wondering: Why is inventory so low, and when will sellers return to the market?

The results of our inaugural Redfin Real-Time Home-Seller Survey give us insight into why there are so few homes on the market this year, and what might be in store in the year to come:

  • 80% believe that they would get a higher price for their home by waiting one to two years;
  • 46% of respondents are considering renting out their home rather than selling it;
  • 32% intend to price their home higher than nearby comparable sales;
  • 35% would choose an all-cash offer over higher offers with conventional or FHA financing;
  • 49% cited the economy as a major concern with selling;
  • 13% believe it is a good time to sell; and
  • 61% believe it is a good time to buy.

For the full report including data tables and charts, visit the Real-Time Market Sentiment in Redfin’s Research Center.

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Senior Data Journalist / Real Estate Analyst

Tim Ellis has been analyzing the real estate market since 2005, and worked at Redfin as a housing market analyst from 2010 through 2013 and again starting in 2018. In his free time, he runs the independently-operated Seattle-area real estate website Seattle Bubble, and produces the "Dispatches from the Multiverse" improv comedy sci-fi podcast.

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