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Buyers in the driver's seat: U.S. homebuyers paid $7,039 less than listing price in July

SEATTLE -- Amid continued falling home prices, U.S. homebuyers are negotiating even more discounts at the bargaining table, according to July's Zillow Real Estate Market Reports. Buyers paid 3.3 percent, or a nearly $7,039, less than the last listing price on homes for sale(1) during the month of July. That is down slightly from 3.5 percent, or $7,630, in June, and substantially down from 4.6 percent ($10,260) in January.
 
Meanwhile, 22.8 percent of all homes listed for sale on Zillow had at least one listing price reduction(2) as of Sept. 1, 2009. The median U.S. price reduction(3) was 6.5 percent off the original listing price. Homes listed for sale on Zillow during August were listed for a median 96 days(4), up from 91 in July.
 
Florida homebuyers had the most negotiating power in July, with buyers in the Vero Beach metropolitan statistical area (MSA) paying 10.2 percent, or a median $23,500, less than the last listing price. Buyers in the Sarasota MSA paid 8.2 percent less than list price. The Naples, Daytona Beach, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Panama City, Punta Gorda, Melbourne, Ocala, Tampa, Jacksonville, Port St. Lucie, Gainesville and Lakeland MSAs also ranked, in that order, in the top 25 markets for negotiation.
 
There was less or no room for negotiation in some California markets that have been hard-hit by foreclosures. In the El Centro MSA, buyers paid 1.8 percent, or a median of $2,150, more than the listing price. In seven California markets -- Sacramento, Merced, Modesto, Riverside, Stockton, Yuba City and Fresno -- asking price and sale price were the same(5).
 
"The strong summer selling season in 2009 has led to a decreasing difference between the last listing price and final sale price, but most buyers are still getting some additional discount at selling time," said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries. "We expected list-to-sale price ratios to fall as the sales volume picked up during the summer, and the California markets are showing strong declines in the discount off the last listing price, relative to levels at the start of the year. This is fueled both by increased sales and high proportion of foreclosures re-sales, which are already priced relatively low.
 
"The fact that many Florida markets are still showing comparatively higher differences between the last listing price and final sale price suggests that inventory levels are still relatively high, keeping considerable downward pressure on prices and encouraging buyers to seek large discounts off the listing price. Overall, buyers are finding favorable conditions for negotiating prices, and now can be a good time to buy, provided homebuyers are financially prepared with healthy down payments and intend to stay in their home for a minimum of five to seven years."
 
Top 25 Markets for Negotiating Discounts (ranked by percent difference from last list price to final sale)
 
                                                              Zillow
                   Median %   Median $                         Home
                 Difference Difference                        Value
                    from        from      % of                 Index Median
                    Last        List     For Sale              Year-   Days
                 List Price    Price    Listings    Median %   Over- Listed
    Metropolitan to Final    to Final with Price of Price   Year     on
    Statistical     Sale       Sale    Reductions Reduction Change Zillow
    Area             (1)        (1)        (2)                  (6)    (4)
 
    United States   3.3%      $7,039      22.8%      6.5%     -9.9%    96
 
    Vero Beach,
     Fla.          10.2%     $23,500      17.5%      9.1%    -11.6%   106
 
    Sarasota, Fla. 8.2%     $20,392      19.9%      8.3%    -17.5%    96
 
    Atlantic City,
     N.J.             8%     $23,082      21.4%      6.9%     -7.4%    94
 
    Naples, Fla.    7.8%     $27,233      21.1%      9.8%    -21.2%   100
 
    Daytona Beach,
     Fla.           7.5%     $14,246      23.8%      9.2%    -22.3%   129
 
    Miami-
     Ft. Lauderdale,
     Fla.           7.5%     $18,658      18.7%     11.4%    -20.7%   109
 
    Panama City,
     Fla.           7.1%     $17,617      19.8%      9.8%    -10.3%   135
 
    Punta Gorda,
     Fla.             7%     $11,677        16%     10.5%    -14.3%   145
 
    Melbourne, Fla. 6.6%     $11,839      20.9%      8.5%    -18.3%   125
 
    Detroit, Mich. 6.5%      $7,777      29.1%     10.7%      -24%    69
 
    Ocala, Fla.     6.4%      $8,960      21.2%     10.5%    -12.2%    74
 
    Springfield,
     Ohio           6.4%      $6,231      21.8%        8%     -1.8%   101
 
    Prescott, Ariz. 6.4%     $15,919      28.6%      8.7%    -19.3%   120
 
    Morristown,
     Tenn.          6.3%     $11,233      18.9%      6.3%    -15.9%   143
 
    Toledo, Ohio    6.1%      $7,315      24.8%      7.7%     -7.1%   109
 
    Tampa, Fla.     6.1%     $10,948      22.8%        9%    -19.8%   106
 
    Jacksonville,
     Fla.             6%     $12,313        29%      7.9%      -13%   111
 
    Stamford,
     Conn.          5.9%     $32,099      26.5%      5.8%    -10.4%   110
 
    Port St. Lucie,
     Fla.           5.7%     $10,289      19.5%       10%    -24.5%   124
 
    Grand Rapids,
     Mich.          5.6%      $6,879        24%        8%    -10.8%   101
 
    Chicago, Ill.   5.5%     $13,453      29.4%        6%      -13%   108
 
    Gainesville,
     Fla.           5.5%      $9,868      22.1%      6.7%     -8.7%   130
 
    Lakeland, Fla. 5.5%      $8,757      17.3%      9.4%    -23.4%   111
 
    New York, N.Y. 5.4%     $21,785        25%      5.9%     -9.7%   110
 
    Cleveland,
     Ohio           5.4%      $7,424      25.4%      6.7%     -5.3%    86

The full national report for 161 MSAs, in its new, interactive format, is available at www.zillow.com/local-info, or by emailing press@zillow.com. Additionally, in most areas data is available at the state, metro, county, city, ZIP and neighborhood level.

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