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Opinion

January 10. 2014 3:08PM

Redfin Survey

Homebuyers willing to pay more for less, real estate agents say


Donald, right, and Stacy McCray, pictured December 2013, plan to put their two story home in Orange Park Acres on the market sometime in January, joining what forecasters say will be an increase in the number of people selling their homes in 2014. (Sam Gangwer/Orange County Register/MCT)

Real estate agents, who deal directly with buyers and sellers, are in a position to know firsthand what's on the minds of both groups when it comes to home sales.

A new report from Redfin, the real estate brokerage, found buyers in the fourth quarter continued to be frustrated by the slim pickings among inventory, were willing to pay more than a seller's asking price, and were willing to settle for less when it comes to home features.

Redfin's national survey of 468 agents provides insight into a housing market that continues to experience tightening inventories, rising home prices and mortgage rates that continued to trend upward.

Most agents continued to think it's a good time to buy a home (56 percent versus 55 percent in the third quarter), even if 63 percent believe sellers have “unrealistic expectations” about the value of their properties.

Among other findings:

• Eighty-seven percent of agents said limited inventory was buyers' biggest challenge.

• Fewer agents think now is a good time to sell a home — 65 percent in the fourth quarter compared with 72 percent in the third quarter and 86 percent in the second quarter — even if the overwhelming majority still think the time is right.

• About 30 percent said buyers were “flexible on features” and were “prepared to waive contingencies” to win a bid.

Ennis Antoine, associate broker at Better Homes and Garden Real Estate Metro Brokers in Atlanta, said some buyers are settling for less house because they may face a time crunch in finding a place to live. Others aren't compromising on location, but may settle for a home that is smaller or a little dated.

Antoine said he's advising clients to be patient. “You have to understand there's not a lot of inventory, and when you find the home you want, you have to give your best offer initially because there's no haggling. You can't bargain down.”

The Redfin survey also found agents were concerned that rising interest rates would limit home sales, with 39 percent believing that if rates exceeded 5.5 percent sales and price growth would suffer. Other agents put the threshold at 6 percent.

Federal Reserve policymakers plan to do less in stimulating the economy by keeping interest rates low, which means mortgage rates, which have already been on the rise, will continue to trend upward.




Real Estate

Think tank: NH public policy outdated, based on assumptions that are no longer true

The former Shaw’s grocery store at 360 Daniel Webster Highway in Merrimack has been vacant for about 10 years. There are preliminary plans to convert the building into an indoor go-kart complex. 

Kimberly Houghton

Recreational vision for vacant Shaw's site

MERIT AWARD Hyder Court Housing, Portsmouth. Architect: McHenry Architecture PLLC, Portsmouth. Photographer: Carabell Photography, Dover.

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HHS shifting money around to meet shortfall

ESPN NH Radio leaving Nashua for the Queen City

Home & Garden

Rosaly Bass of Peterborough has been named Gardener of the Year by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire.

Peterborough's Rosaly Bass named organic gardener of the year

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Rosaly Bass of Peterborough has been named Gardener of the Year by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire.

Rob Schaefer, member of the Saint Claudine Villa Academy board, used this Play-Doh set as a prop for arguing in favor of a zone change for the Villa Augustina School.

Goffstown Planning Board hears argument to rezone Villa Augustina

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At the Planning Board's Thursday public hearing for proposed zoning changes, resident Rob Schaefer argued that the Villa Augustina School property be re-zoned in order to make the property easier to...

The Villa Augustina School has stood empty since it closed in June.

Goffstown School Board abandons plans to buy, renovate Villa Augustina

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Following a tour of the Villa Augustina School on Mast Road on Saturday, the Goffstown School Board has decided to not pursue purchasing and renovating the former Catholic school to address growing...

The Villa Augustina School has stood empty since it closed in June.

Goffstown School Board tours Villa Augustina School as purchase explored

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Members of the Goffstown School Board, School Administrative Unit 19 Superintendent Brian Balke, and town residents toured the closed Villa Augustina School property on Saturday, hoping to get a...

Stayci Fast of Ivy Home & Garden in Windham make a kitchen island holiday display that includes flowering bulbs and spices at a home in Windham.

Professional designers talk about high-end trends in holiday decor

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Professional decorators share a glimpse of this year's high-end holiday trends

School district moves ahead on appraisal of Villa Augustina property

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The Goffstown School Board continued discussions on Monday night about the possibility of purchasing the former Villa Augustina School campus to address growing space needs in the district.

Fall color in Yellowstone National Park.

Nature photography a shared passion for Nashua couple

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A hobby became a passion and a career for the photographers Hudnall

The Planning Board recently OK'd a subdivision of the Rockingham Park property.

Planning board decision will clear path for sale of Rockingham Park parcel

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A parcel on the north side of the 170-acre property is under agreement for a sale to local developer and restaurant owner Joseph Faro.