The federal home buyer tax credit is gone, and so is the motivation of real estate buyers to pay more for a home. Buyers are now wanting to get a better deal, but home sellers may not have adjusted to the market.
Although current mortgage rates remain low, the volume of new loan applications has dropped. The Mortgage Bankers Association is reporting that applications for loans to buy homes are down substantially.
Without financial incentives to influence a buying decision, home buyers are taking their time and being more selective. There seems to be a general expectation that many home sellers are desperate to sell, and will settle for a lower price.
Real estate sellers, if they are not desperate, generally tend to think they can get full price for their home. Even if they wanted to, many home sellers cannot consider a low offer because they don’t have enough equity to cover all the costs of selling the home and moving. If sellers are not able sell for a sufficient price, they may have to negotiate a short sale with the lender.
The contrast in views is a primary cause for unsuccessful real estate transactions. Estimates of 15 to 17 percent of sale transactions in some areas are falling apart as sellers prove unable or unwilling to give buyers what they want. In a normal market, the figure is about 5 percent.
Real estate buyers are holding out for a bargain, and they can’t be blamed for wanting the best deal. The perception for sellers may have been influenced by the increase in demand caused by the federal tax credit. It may take some time for reality to set in that a recent boost in home prices was only temporary, and sustainable gains need to be supported by real job growth and sufficient household income
Over time, the housing market naturally makes price corrections based on supply and demand. Unless job growth quickly improves, government incentives that were meant to support home sales, may have just delayed the inevitable price corrections.