By Inman News, Thursday, September 10, 2009

U.S. homebuyers paid 3.3 percent less than listing price, on average, during July — a smaller discount than the 3.5 percent average in June and 4.6 percent in January, listing and valuation site Zillow.com said.

At the market level, Zillow’s July Real Estate Market Reports shows buyers paid the asking price or more in some California markets where sales are heating up.

In the El Centro metropolitan statistical area (MSA), one of 161 tracked by Zillow’s report, buyers paid 1.8 percent more than listing price. In seven California markets — Sacramento, Merced, Modesto, Riverside, Stockton, Yuba City and Fresno — the asking price and sale price were the same, on average.

Zillow attributed declining discounts from listing price to increased sales and a high proportion of foreclosures resales, which are already priced relatively low.

Homebuyers in Florida had the most negotiating power in July, Zillow said. Buyers in the Vero Beach metro area paid 10.2 percent less than the last listing price, on average.

Other Florida cities ranking in the top 25 markets for discounts from list price were Sarasota (8.2 percent discount), Naples (7.8 percent), Daytona Beach (7.5 percent), Miami-Fort Lauderdale (7.5 percent), Panama City (7.1 percent), Punta Gorda (7 percent), Melbourne (6.6 percent), Ocala (6.4 percent), Tampa (6.1 percent), Jacksonville (6 percent), Port St. Lucie (5.7 percent), Gainesville (5.5 percent) and Lakeland (5.5 percent).

Zillow reported that 22.8 percent of homes listed for sale on Zillow.com had at least one listing-price reduction as of Sept. 1, with a median reduction of 6.5 percent from the original listing price. Homes listed for sale on Zillow during August were listed for a median 96 days, up from 91 in July.