New Tool Highlights Best Housing Deals

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — A new online tool may make homebuyers think twice before paying the asking price on a home.

Trulia, an online real estate listings service, recently launched an interactive map that helpers buyers and sellers alike find out the average listing price for homes by city or ZIP code, as well as the typical length of time it takes for sellers in each region to drop the price if the house doesn’t sell. It also tells how much they drop list prices (when they do).

On average, home sellers across the U.S. cut the price of the property by 8% after it sat on the market for 79 days, according to Trulia’s data. What’s more, about a third of all sellers will actually cut the price a second time if the home sits on the market long enough. However, as the map shows, each of these numbers varies significantly from one region to the next.

With the new feature, users can zoom in on specific towns and compare the average initial list prices and subsequent reductions with those of neighboring areas to get a better sense of whether a particular property is as good a deal as it seems.

Not surprisingly, Trulia’s data shows that the regions hit hardest by the housing collapse are the quickest to lower the asking price on homes. Three of the five cities that were quickest to lower prices were in California, a state particularly hard hit by the housing crunch. Real estate in San Diego, for example, was on the market for an average of 50 days before the first price reduction, while houses in Oakland were on the market for just 45 days before doing so.

Likewise, sellers in particularly turbulent housing markets like Detroit and Miami offered the largest price reductions, dropping initial list prices by 11% and 19% respectively. If you’re looking for a bargain, these are the places to go, but of course, the sharp decreases are indicative of the volatility of these particular housing markets.

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