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Buyers pay closer to asking price

By Holden Lewis · Bankrate.com
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Posted: 10 am ET

The gap is narrowing between the asking prices for homes and final sales prices as house values continue to climb, according to real estate valuation company FNC.

Home prices nationwide rose for the 11th straight month in FNC's Residential Price Index for January. The composite price index for the 100 largest metro areas was up 5.7 percent compared to January 2012.

Sellers get more pricing power

As home prices rose, sellers gained leverage over buyers. This January, the average house sold for 93.5 percent of its asking price. One year before, houses fetched an average of 90.3 percent of the asking price.

"A limited housing supply and declining foreclosure sales are contributing to the recovery of underlying property values," FNC said in a news release, adding that foreclosures were 20.2 percent of home sales in January, compared to 26.9 percent of sales a year before.

Mountain West gains the most

Home prices are rising fastest in the west. In Phoenix, home prices rose 28.6 percent in 2012, according to FNC data. Prices in Las Vegas and Denver were up around 12.5 percent, and prices in San Francisco rose 11.9 percent.

FNC looked at what happened to house prices from January 2007 to this January, and only four major metro areas showed higher home values over the six-year period. Denver home prices rose 5.4 percent over those six years; San Antonio was up 2 percent. Houston prices climbed 1.6 percent, and prices in Columbus, Ohio, essentially were unchanged, rising 0.2 percent.

Over those same six years, four metro areas had price declines of more than 50 percent: Las Vegas (down 57.1 percent); Riverside, Calif. (down 54.6 percent); Orlando, Fla. (down 53.6 percent), and Miami (down 50.2 percent).

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