U.S. Homebuyers Pay Closer to List Price in August; Still Negotiating Thousands in Discounts


October 9, 2009

Home buyers in much of the U.S. are still paying thousands of dollars below the home’s asking price, but had slightly less negotiating power in August 2009 than they did in July, according to the August Zillow Real Estate Market Reports. Buyers paid a median $6,525, or 3% less than the last listing price on homes bought in August, down from $7,018, or 3.3%, less for homes bought in July. Negotiating power peaked in January 2009, when buyers were paying 4.5% less than last listing price, a median of $10,096. Meanwhile, sellers continue to cut prices on unsold homes. One quarter (24.7%) of all homes listed for sale on Zillow had at least one listing price reduction as of Oct. 1, 2009. The median U.S. price reduction was 6.6% off the original listing price.

Florida home buyers again in August had the most negotiating power, with buyers in the Vero Beach metropolitan statistical area (MSA) paying 8.9%, or a median $20,974, less than the last listing price. Buyers in the Naples MSA paid 8% less than list price. The Naples, Daytona Beach, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Ocala, Lakeland, Punta Gorda, Melbourne, Gainesville, Tampa, Jacksonville and Fort Myers MSAs also ranked, in that order, as the top markets for negotiation.

But in two California markets, buyers paid more than asking price during August. In the El Centro MSA, buyers paid 2.2%, or a median $2,479, more than asking price. In the Stockton MSA, buyers paid 1.3%, or $2,515, more.

“Negotiating power is a clear reflection of inventory levels, which dropped nationally in August. Tighter supply in some markets is translating into less of a discount off listing price,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. “Unfortunately, the brisk spring and summer home shopping season is drawing to a close now, and with foreclosures on the rise again, inventory levels will likely head back up in the coming months, leading buyers’ negotiating power to regain the ground it lost in August.”