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RISMEDIA, July 17, 2007—The U.S. housing market is showing surprising resiliency in five important categories despite the negative impact of slower sales and increasing foreclosures in some areas, according to HouseHunt’s Current Market Conditions random survey of member agents during the second quarter of 2007.

The most dramatic improvement is found in the asking price vs. sale price category:  Eighty-six percent of respondents said their clients are getting at least 90% of asking prices. Of this figure, 55% say their clients are getting more than 95% of asking prices. The asking price-sale price percentages are even higher in California (94%), the West, Metro Chicago and Texas, all reporting 93%, and the Midwest (91%).

In home price appreciation over the past year, 40% reported an increase in value of between zero and 20%. Another 19% reported no change in value. Only 41% reported a decrease in value between zero and 20%. Seventy-nine percent of respondents in Texas – especially in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex – reported appreciation of 0-20% in the past year. 

In measuring the amount of time needed to sell a home, 43% of respondents said it is now taking 90 days or less, on average.  Of this figure, 18% said it is taking less than 60 days from listing to contact.

Buyer-seller ratios are also improving, although buyers are still in the driver’s seat in most areas of the country. Second quarter survey results show that home sellers outnumber buyers by 54% to 29%. The remaining 17% report an equal number of buyers and sellers in their marketplaces. In Texas, 69% of respondents reported more buyers than sellers and that 83% of listings are selling within 90 days. 

Fifty-nine percent of member agents report that the inventory of unsold homes in their exclusive ZIP code territories is up over a year ago and is 18% higher than the first quarter of 2007. Twenty-one percent said the number of unsold homes is about the same as a year ago. 

“Our latest national survey results certainly counter the gloomy real estate reports we’re seeing from some financial prognosticators,” said Michael Bearden, president and CEO of HouseHunt, Inc., a consumer-oriented Internet firm that supplies free information and services to homeowners, home buyers and home sellers in 47 states through more than 1,500 member agents and its primary Web sites, and

Bearden added: “The fact that 86 percent of sellers are getting at least 90 percent of asking prices tells me that marketplace reality is replacing unrealistic home seller expectations. Potential buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines for the past 18 months are finding good value and lots of choices in their local marketplaces. Inventories of unsold homes are slowing building again in many parts of the country after leveling off in the first quarter of this year. Tougher mortgage loan qualifications will be a short-term negative factor for first-time and marginal buyers.”

Here’s a sample of “Current Market Conditions” reports for the second quarter from HouseHunt member agents around the country:

Liling Chung of Coldwell Banker, Evanston, IL, exclusive HouseHunt member agent for Wilmette and Skokie in Metro Chicago, reports more buyers than sellers. Average time on the market of 60-90 days. She said sellers are getting 85% of their asking prices.

Greatest activity is from first-time buyers.

Also reporting more buyers than sellers is Kathy Noonan Blount of RE/MAX Realty Group, exclusive HouseHunt member agent for Gaithersburg, MD. She said the average time on the market is 30 to 60 days. Average home price is $450,000. She said most sellers are getting 95-100% of asking prices.

Robert S. Clubb of Horizon Realty in Leander, TX, exclusive HouseHunt member agent for Lago Vista in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, reported more buyers than sellers and a limited supply of unsold homes. Average time on the market is 60 days or more. Average price is $175,000. He said most sellers are getting 95-100% of asking prices. Housing hot spots are Point Venture, Lakeway and Lake Travis.

Jamie Openden of Amalfi Estates in Toluca Lake, CA, exclusive HouseHunt member agent for North Hollywood, reported an equal number of buyers and sellers. She estimated average time on the market at 60-90 days. Average home price is $500,000.  

Rita Gallant of Plymouth Village Realtors, exclusive HouseHunt member agent for Plymouth, MA, reported more sellers than buyers and a decrease in average home prices of 5-10% over the past year. Average price home now is $425,000. Average time on the market is 120 days.  She said most sellers are getting 85-90% of asking prices and that ocean properties are still selling well.