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January 3, 2014

Real estate agents still optimistic

Most residential real estate agents believe it’s still a good time for homeowners to sell but limited inventory remains the biggest challenge for buyers, according to results of a quarterly national survey by the online real estate brokerage Redfin.

The survey, conducted in mid-December, found that 65 percent of agents believe now is a good time to sell, down from 72 percent in the third quarter of 2013 and 86 percent in the second quarter. At the same time, agent perspectives on buying remained steady, with 56 percent saying it's a good time to buy compared to 55 percent in the third quarter, Redfin said.

However, 87 percent of agents cited "limited inventory" as the biggest challenge for buyers, the survey found. Competition from bidding wars was buyers' second largest concern, but this response dropped to 65 percent from 79 percent in the third quarter.

Other findings also indicate that the real estate market continues to lean in favor of sellers. Thirty-five percent of agents said buyers are "willing to pay more" to find a home compared to last summer. At the same time, about 30 percent said buyers were "flexible on features," held "lower expectations" for how far their money will stretch, were "looking to new construction" because of limited inventory, and were "prepared to waive contingencies" to win a bid, the survey said.

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