US real estate agents confident about 2010 with 72% expecting property prices to stay the same or increase in next six months

Real estate agents in the US are confident that property prices will increase or stay the same in the first six months of 2010, according to the latest research.

Three out of four Realtors, some 72%, are expecting a good first half of the year. Nearly half, some 48%, expect prices to stay the same and 24% expect them to improve, according to the fourth quarter Home Prices Survey of Realtors.

It shows that realtors’ price expectations have improved steadily over the year. Only 47 % of those surveyed in the first quarter believed home prices would either stay the same or increase.

Expectations were highest in the Midwest, some 73% confident and  lowest in the West of the country where 56% of  Realtors expect prices to decrease.

The research also shows that first time homebuyers taking advantage of the first time home buyer tax credit dominated business during the third quarter, accounting for more than half the transactions of 21% of Realtors. Only 11% said that none of their transactions last quarter involved a first time buyer.

‘The research shows that realtors believe that the first time homebuyers’ tax credit has driven sales and stabilized home prices, for now. Realtors, however, expressed concerns about the cost of the credit to taxpayers and where sales will continue once the credit expires later next year and additional inventory hits the market,’ said Louis Cammarosano, general manager of researchers HomeGain.

The sellers’ expectations though remain high and buyers continue to believe properties are overpriced.

The report shows that 76% of sellers believe that their properties are worth more than their realtor’s recommendation and 62% of buyers think that homes are overpriced.

Realtors reported that listing prices are holding their own. Some 63% of properties sold within 10% of listing price during the third quarter, a significant increase over 55% in the second quarter.

The amount of foreclosures selling fell with 15% realtors reporting that foreclosures constitute more than 30% of properties for sale in their area compared with 20% of realtors reporting more than 30% of homes for sale were foreclosures and in the first quarter, it was 22%.

The research is published at the same time as the latest figures from Realty Trac show that foreclosure filings — default notices, scheduled foreclosure auctions and bank repossessions — fell nearly 8% from October and were down 15% from the July peak. The foreclosure activity though is still 18% higher than November 2008.


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