Are more homeowners ready to sell?

The latest data found an increase in the number of homes for sale between February and March. Is it a trend or a blip?

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Apr 10, 2013 12:53PM

Woman in front of sale sign with fingers crossed (© SuperStock)Have home prices risen enough that sellers may be edging into the market?


The latest data from found that the number of homes for sale increased 2.36% from February to March. While that doesn’t indicate a stampede of sellers, it may be a sign that at least sellers are ready to quit sitting on their hands.


In Portland, Ore., Micki Swenson tried to sell her house three years ago and got no takers. She’s decided that she’s ready to move on with her life and put the home back up for sale last month, at a lower price.


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"There's a lot of people who were underwater who are now not underwater," Portland real-estate broker said Nick Krautter told The Oregonian. "We’ve got a lot of clients who have been waiting to sell, sometimes for years. The price moved up enough they're able to make the move they want to make."

That hasn’t led to a large increase in homes listed for sale, agents told The Oregonian, because fewer distressed properties -- foreclosures and short sales -- are coming to market. Still, they are seeing more interest from "regular sellers."

Inventory remains tight in much of the country, down 15.22% from this time last year, according to the data. But those numbers vary around the country.


Inventory of homes for sale has fallen drastically in California, bringing back bidding wars. But from February to March, the number of homes for sale rose 13.68% in San Francisco, 11.47% in San Jose, 7.27% in Oakland and 6.85% in Sacramento, all cities where the number of homes for sale has declined significantly. None of the other markets in the data showed a double-digit month-over-month increase in homes for sale.

It’s too early to tell whether the inventory crunch is really easing, since it’s traditional for more homes to go on the market as spring approaches. We’ll have to wait a few more months to find out if prices have risen enough to persuade more homeowners it’s time to sell.


Of the 146 cities tracked, only 36 showed a year-over-year decrease in list prices and, of those, only six saw list prices decline more than 5%. Those cities were Peoria-Pekin, Ill., down 10.72%; Columbia, Mo., down 8.57%; Springfield, Ill., down 7.69%; Dayton-Springfield, Ohio, down 7.32%; Akron, Ohio, down 6.08%; and Roanoke, Va., down 5.08%.


The median price was up 0.05% for the year, to $190,000.

Apr 24, 2013 9:15AM

I would like to clear up something regarding real estate agents and REALTORS®.  This is not a slap at anyone, just a clarification about terms.


There are both licensed and unlicensed real estate agents.  Unlicensed agents are, when caught, subject to the penalties prescribed in the laws of each state about the practice of real estate without a license.  This is similar to “doctors” practicing without a license.


Licensed real estate agents receive their licenses from the states in which the agents choose to be licensed.  How each agent is licensed is according to the laws of each state.  Some states have only one type of license, generally called a “broker”.  Others have a two- or three-tiered system.  My state, Nevada, has three levels:

Broker – they are the only ones who can run an office and have the ultimate responsibility for the actions of those agents within their office.

Broker-salesperson – they can perform many of the duties of a broker, they just cannot run an office, nor, in most cases, have the responsibility for the actions of other agents.

Salesperson – the balance of those licensed as real estate agents.


I am a salesperson, primarily because I do not want to be held responsible for the actions of other agents, some of whom are do not perform their duties in a responsible or ethical manner.


With regard to licensed real estate agents and REALTORS®, the only difference is that REALTORS® are members of the National Association of REALTORS® and are supposed to adhere to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.  All REALTORS® are licensed real estate agents.  Not all licensed real estate agents are REALTORS®.  Use of the term REALTOR® as applied to real estate agents is similar to the use of the term Kleenex as applied to facial tissue.  In each case, their brand name has become a generic term.


You have probably noticed that I use the uppercase, followed by the ®, when I use the term REALTOR®.  That is the proper usage of the term although both Realtor and realtor are frequently used.  All three have become acceptable and used interchangeably.  I do find it easier to not use all caps and forget the ®. 


FYI, you can make the symbol ® (on PCs) by holding the ALT key down while entering 0174.

Apr 22, 2013 7:46AM
I work with real estate investors and the mesage that I am hearing from real estate agents, bankers,etc is "Don't believe the hype".  While it is true that some markets are experiencing biddding wars, that is not the case everywhere.  Also, keep in mind, as it has been mentioned, by others there is still a large inventory of houses that the bank has not released to the market , so we are just waiting for that "shoe" to drop which will no doubt drive prices down.  The common advice that I have been given is to wait.  If you don't have to sell, don't.  So we will spend the next 3-5 years doing some repairs and put it on the market when we are closer to retirement.
Apr 22, 2013 7:23AM
My house is still underwater. But I have my scuba gear and I'll be okay. :)
Apr 22, 2013 7:10AM
Has anyone ever tried donate your house instead of selling it? I'm sure I can benefit from your donations. Please!
Apr 22, 2013 6:54AM
YES! We have been waiting to sell our house for years as well! After my husband got his house in his divorce, we have been waiting for the market to recover so we can get our own home for our family and without any trace of the ex-wife. While the market has improved as the article suggests, it has been slow going and it has been frustrating because there are many properties we'd buy in a second if only we didn't have to sell first to buy. But at least the market does seem to be improving enough that I do think owners will continue to consider selling.
Apr 22, 2013 6:50AM
Speaking as someone who recently bought a house (closed 3-27) I can say the reason sales appear to be increasing is the severe lack of (and therefore competition for) the few houses that are on the market with realistic pricing. 
Apr 22, 2013 6:32AM
As property taxes go up, more people want out of home ownership.  We're supposed to be a Christian Society but when you let the Government steal or hold your property for TAX ransom YOU let them violate one of the 10 Commandments "Thou Shalt Not Steal".  Christians sin by Words, Deeds, and Thoughts.  It's time for all to tell their Politicians stop stealing from me.  Their are other ways to fund schools, towns, counties instead of using property taxes.  A 1 or 2 percent increase in sales tax and higher taxes on luxury items not needed for living would solve the problem.
Apr 22, 2013 6:30AM
Recently sold my mom's house at a fixer upper price. Not tremendously happy, but we no longer have to pay $4k/yr in propertyand school taxes or fix the house to meet FHA lending standards. The house was only on the market for 6 months and now the nursing home gets to be paid until the cash runs out and obama takes over.
Apr 22, 2013 6:28AM

As someone who is actively selling their home, I find this article way off base.  The value of my home (from three different estimate sources) is "X", but the realtors want to list it at "X-$12,000" so they can sell it faster and get their commission.


The realtors don't care that the house across the street sold last month for "X" (same square footage, same amenities, etcetera) -- the realtors have their own agenda.


Realtors suck.

Apr 22, 2013 6:25AM
You have to love it.  So many people gleaning the "truth" from the Internet (the new "rumor mill").  So many people perpetuating that "truth".  So few actually looking for the real facts.  If you are looking for comedy, look no further than some of the comments posted here.  And it's not just the comments that are hysterical.  The spelling, grammar, and punctuation are are an indictment of our educational system.  That, however, is another discussion.
Apr 22, 2013 5:51AM

Some of this is because realtors will "highball" the listed price to get the listing. Then, no matter who sells the house the listing agent get paid.  Then comes the appraisal.  Now either the price comes down or the house

goes off market. But usually the price comes down, and the listing agent is still ahead.  Then an offer, usually about 5% below the asking price and the seller pays the 3% closing costs ! The listing agent says take it, the market is not that good and you have a lot of competition.  Now the inspection, and repairs. Now you are asked to pay for a home warranty for the buyer, $400.  So now you dropped the price 5%, pay 3% closing costs, pay the 6% sales commission, plus repairs and the $400 warranty.  So the sale cost you 14%, plus repairs, plus the $400.  You walk away with lunch money, the agent makes a bundle.  I would like to see the stats on listed price vs sales price.......but that will never happen !

Apr 22, 2013 5:38AM

oh please, there is always an increase of homes for sale in the spring.

I've been looking @ homes in Texas this past month to purchase. They are very proud

of their homes. Since I can check what they were purchased for and compare against selling

price looking for improvements, they want a profit of at least $50,000 with no improvements even if they just bought the home a year ago. No thanks I'll build.

Apr 22, 2013 5:35AM
I was interested in buying a home, but first i had to qualify for a loan i was referred to a banks mortgage rep.i had little or no credit at the time so they told me i needed what they called alternative credit, which is a collection of bills you would pay in running any household, after weeks ,and months of call backs to the bank rep. i developed a real frustration, and then anger towards this used car salesman i was dealing with, i guess they were busy with all the refinancing going on, and didn't want to spend any time with a small fish in a big pond, in the end they wanted to see three years of projected income from me, and since i was on social security disabiltiy i was at a dead end if they would of told me this in the beginning they wouldn't have wasted both mine and there time and the resentment i have towards them how many of you remember when you could put 500.00 dollars down, with a 18000 mortgage, i know take me back to Kansas Dorthy.
Apr 22, 2013 4:34AM
If Americans spent as much time improving their marketable skills as they did whininig impotently on the internet, our economy might not be as bad as a lot of you claim.
Apr 22, 2013 3:49AM
I would love to sell mine and move out of state, but Zillow shows my home value going down daily in spite of all the new renovations I've been making.  Homes in my area are just lingering on the market and when they can't sell, a "for rent" sign goes up next.
Apr 22, 2013 3:47AM

I did real estate part time for 3 years in the 90's. Two things I learned from the experience; 1. Real estate agents are the most rude, greedy and self serving creatures that ever slimed their snakey bodies on the ground called earth. 2. Their sole interest is to have home prices up to where no one can afford them so the agents can line their pockets with a commission and do not care how it affects anyone else.


Real estate to me ranks under criminals in prison. Go to hell.

Apr 22, 2013 3:33AM
Five dollars and all that whining will buy you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
Apr 22, 2013 3:19AM
I also have a house in Florida like the author, but I think what is happening is something artificial.  The number of foreclosures on the market is down due to banks keeping them off the market.  They are waiting for the prices to rise and don't want a glut of houses to depress the market.  There are still plenty of empty bank owned properties with notices taped on the windows that are not listed for sale.  If these houses were actually on the market the median prices would be lower.  Also a lot of sales are to investors who are buying huge packages of houses, sometimes hundreds at a time.  Many are foreign investors.  These large purchases keep the inventory low and then cause a rise in prices.  If these investors go away and if the true number of foreclosures hit the market the sale prices would most likely fall. 
Apr 22, 2013 3:18AM
Hey Teresa, just in case you are new to real estate, Spring time is traditionally the time when people start selling homes.
Apr 22, 2013 3:01AM
  We're not out of the "woods" yet my friends . Look for the stock market to fall sharply , and job growth to fall off , and lay offs to start up again . This country is in big trouble , and I don't believe one "positive word " coming out of our government leaders . It's all BS .
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