Price INCREASES in a Declining Market

By Dave Fratello | March 15th, 2007

This blog begins with the following premise:


The good old days are over. A gigantic rally ended in late 2005/early 2006. We coasted through 2006, with some sellers getting their prices, and lots more watching their houses sit for months and months. Initial asking prices increasingly gave way to a new reality. (Some people simply never sold at all.)

So why are brand-new listings RAISING their prices? Two recent examples from the Tree Section:

#1 is 2305 Pine Ave. - a 3br/2ba house, 2,000 sq ft, a charming remodeled 1950 cottage. (First photo above.) So charming, in fact, that the sellers raised their price from $1,495,122 to $1,595,122 just eight days after hitting the market (list date 2/21/07). It seems anyone who missed it in the first week was expected to pay a penalty.

#2 is 2507 Valley Dr. - a newer (2004) 4br/3ba house w/ 2,850 sq ft. (Second pic.) This was a steal at $1,999,999, the price it held for four days. You snooze, you lose - since March 13, it's now $2,099,000.

That is two separate $100k increases. In a slow (but not dead) market in which most sellers are taking less.

Both homes have their challenges, and don't look like quick movers in today's market. Are the sudden price increases supposed to add a sense of urgency?!?

We'll seek other examples and track the fates of these sellers and this tactic. But we are skeptical here at MBC, where we can recall two things from recent years:

First, in the runup (2001-05), buyers often paid more than list price, but prices generally were not raised on listings.

Second, in the last 9-12 months, price cuts of $100k-$300k have been the rule, not the exception.

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