Business & Economy

What's up? More SoCal homes going for asking price

Sellers are
Sellers are "right-pricing" their homes, and buyers are taking what they can get, a new report suggests.
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In California’s hot housing market, many buyers expect they’ll need to bid above the list price. But a growing number of homes are actually selling at what owners are asking.

Homes that went for the list price made up the biggest share of sales in September: 43 percent, up from 29 percent a year ago, according to a new report from the California Association of Realtors.

Senior economist Jordan Levine said sellers in the past may have listed their homes at a discount to drum up interest and drive up the number of bids. But he said low housing inventory means more sellers are pricing their homes at market value – and they’ll still sell. 

"Sellers are reaching a little bit more in terms of what they are asking for," Levine said. 

As an indication that the pricing strategy is working, Levine points to the upward trend in home prices in Southern California. The median price for sold homes was $505,000 in September — nearly 10 percent higher from the year before, according to real estate data firm CoreLogic.

In the meantime, the share of homes selling below asking price in September was 28 percent. Homes going above asking made up 29 percent.

This is not to say bidding wars are going away.  Realtor Tamara Suminski, who owns a brokerage firm in Manhattan Beach, recommends clients price their homes at market value, but in the lower range.

"You'll get more eyeballs on it, possibly multiple offers, and possibly an over-asking sale," Suminski said. 

Suminksi said that sellers are getting increasingly savvier about the market and pricing as online data becomes more readily available to consumers. They also need to study the market from the buyer's perspective.

"Here's the crux: Most sellers sell their home and must turn around and buy a home," Suminski said.