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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

The former Chester College property has been sold.

Chester College property sold for $1.53m ; boarding school to open

The coveted People's Choice is voted on each year by Parade of Homes attendees. Last year's People Choice Winner was this open concept 6,027-square-foot Adirondack Style home built by Hayward & Company. Visitors couldn't get enough of this house with its spacious kitchen/dining room with lake views, three bedrooms, plus unique bunkroom with four queen sized beds, six baths, a loft and great room with a gorgeous stone fireplace. Parade goers have fun selecting their favorite homes every year and take it very seriously, taking notes and talking with the builders and sub-contractors. After visitors view their last home on the tour, they make their selection of their “Favorite” home and place the ballot/ticket in the box and enter to win some great prizes!

Lakes Region Fall Parade of Homes set for Columbus Day weekend

Real Estate Corner: Don't ignore outdoor home maintenance

The former Manchester police station at 351 Chestnut St. will soon house a storage facility and a church.

Church to move into part of old police station

Town meeting focuses on lease of land for elderly housing

Home & Garden

Beans are popular among seed savers. When their pods are yellow and dry and the beans rattle inside, it's time to collect and dry them.

Saving seed: At harvest time, you'll have more than memories of a great garden


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Susan Dromey Heeter's Down to Earth: A harvest of lessons for kids – and, maybe, candidates


Relishing the last of the garden's bounty

Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus), shown here growing on a dying sugar maple at Distant Hill Gardens. It is one of the easiest edible mushrooms to identify, and often grows in large numbers, making collection easy.

Foraging for mushrooms has a growing following


For most people, foraging means sifting through sketchy leftovers and eating around the fuzzy parts of fruit in search of a midnight snack while standing in the stark light of the fridge. But for a...

Lilac photo winners announced


The Governor's Lilac & Wildflower Commission has announced the winners of the 19th annual Lilac Photo Contest.

A bench in memory of Katie Bentley.

Hotel and lilacs proposed for Hackett Hill site


John Bentley plans to plant more than 300 types of lilacs as part of a proposed botanical garden/festival venue/commercial development on Hackett Hill Road in Hooksett, creating a monument to the...