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Sellers, why are you still hibernating?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis February 20, 2013 06:33 AM

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OK, there's still lots of snow on the ground, but spring is around the corner. Yet sellers are hunkering down as if it were the winter of 2009, when jobs were being vaporized and the global banking system looked about to collapse.

What gives?

After all, this the time of year when new listings start coming on as sellers prime their homes for the spring market.

But instead, the first several weeks of 2013 have brought more of the same when it comes to housing inventory, with the number of homes on the market continuing to fall.

Overall Boston area inventory - both regular and distressed listings - is down 14.6 percent through early February compared to the same period at the start of 2012, Redfin reports.

And for buyers looking for a house that doesn't need major repairs, well the news is not particular good either.

Non-distressed listings, basically good old regular homes put up for sale by owners not facing pressure from a fed up bank, fell by 8 percent in the Boston area during the first five weeks of 2013, according to Redfin.

That's compared with a 2 percent increase nationally.

However, if you were hoping to snag a cheap foreclosure, the news is actually even worse.

The number of short sales on the market in the Boston area plunged nearly 60 percent during the start of 2013, while listings of bank-owned properties fell by more than 37 percent, Redfin says.

And as the number of foreclosures plummets, the discounts buyers can expect are dwindling.

The average discount on a foreclosed home is back to pre-financial crisis levels, notes Calculated Risk in this take on new data released by FNC, the real estate software company.

The discount on your average foreclosure special now is roughly 12.5 percent, half the 25 percent buyers could expect in the aftermath of the Great Recession and the financial crisis.

Sellers, where are you? And buyers, what does the market look like to you right now?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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