Sellers Settle Into 'Waiting Game'

Sellers are starting to get the message that the market is no longer tilting in their favor.

The number of Americans who say now is a good time to sell plunged 17 percentage points from the previous quarter, according to Redfin's latest Real-Time Seller Survey, which polls 295 current and potential sellers in 30 of the country's large real estate markets.

Sellers, Get a Grip

Some would-be sellers say they're holding out for higher prices before selling; 59 percent of respondents say they want to wait for the maximum price on their home. 

"Sellers hoping for higher prices will face reality soon, as all signs point to lower price growth and less competition among buyers in coming months," says Redfin Chief Economist Nela Richardson. "Buyer demand is there, but only at the right price."

Some potential sellers — 36 percent — are waiting to list their homes because of low inventories, believing that the small pool of homes for sale reflects a sluggish market, Richardson says.

"The lack of homes for sale creates a vortex of short supply that can only be relieved when potential sellers find homes they want to buy and then list their own homes," according to Redfin's research. Several markets are reporting that inventory levels are starting to climb over last year's numbers, but supplies remain tight in many areas.

For the sellers who are willing to list, they're coming to terms with the fact that they may not be able to price their home as aggressively as they thought. The double-digit home-price gains of last year have mostly vanished across the country.

"While some sellers are disappointed that they can no longer expect double-digit price gains, increasing inventory and stabilizing prices provide relief for everyone — buyers and sellers — that we are moving toward a much more balanced market," says Shawn Flynn, a Redfin real estate professional in Boston.