Beware Overpricing, Real Estate Agents Say in Survey

The good news? Plenty of real estate professionals still felt that it was a seller’s market in the fourth quarter of 2019. The caveat? That number dipped below 50% of agents surveyed for the first time, real estate tech company HomeLight said.

HomeLight, which launched in 2012, uses proprietary algorithms to play matchmaker — matching buyers and sellers with the right agent based on their specific market, wants, and needs. The company recently released its Top Agent Insights Survey for the fourth quarter of 2019.

“Our technology compares agents on their historical performance to find the real estate agents that consistently outperform all of the other agents in their local real estate market,” the company explained. “We used our algorithm to find hundreds of the best agents in some of the hottest housing markets in the United States. Then, we asked them for advice homeowners can use as they think about selling their house this quarter and beyond.”

Of those surveyed, 48% still classified the market as a seller’s market — less than 10% classified it as a buyer’s market. Nearly 33% said the market was neutral.

When it came to predictions, agents indicated they felt the market would continue to soften a bit — but only in a way that makes it more balanced and realistic. Nearly 44% of agents said they expected conditions to balance in 2020, and 15% said they’d see a buyer’s market.

And while 90% of agents surveyed said they felt prices would stay level or even rise in the first half of 2020, 50% said that the biggest challenge for sellers will be the urge to overprice.

“Even though buyer demand remains strong and inventory’s lower than expected, bidding wars are on the decline, indicating buyers have their limits on what they’re willing to pay,” the company said.

Interest rates continue to drive the market — the currently friendly rates are keeping demand high, but that enthusiasm also appears to be a bit tempered, with 60% of agents saying they’re seeing a reduction in bidding wars.

Also seeing an uptick? An interest in iBuyer (short for instant buyers) offers. Companies like Opendoor, Knock, Offerpad, Bungalo, and others buy homes from sellers (sometimes in days) with the idea that they will then touch them up and put them back on the market. The entire process is largely automated and web-based, whether you’re buying or selling your home.

More than 25% of real estate agents surveyed said they felt iBuying would be the next big tech trend in 2020, and 17.8% of agents surveyed are presenting iBuyer cash offers during their listing appointments. But 98% of agents said that when they present those offers they’re rarely or never accepted.

But all in all, more than 75% of those surveyed said they felt either extremely or somewhat optimistic about the market in 2020, with only 12% saying they’re worried about a recession, and only 13 percent or so said they’d heard concerns from their clients.

To see the rest of the survey, click here.

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, former Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. She's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy.

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