HomeGain First Quarter 2008 Home Sales Report – Part 1

Posted by: Peggy Boehm on April 9th, 2008

New Home Sales Results by MSA – Just In!

For our member agents who use the HomeGain AgentEvaluator program to aid consumers to Find A Realtor® online, first quarter home sales results are just in.

Even though real estate sales and home prices continue a downward cycle in many areas of the country, and the economy is slowing, HomeGain member agents are closing deals and making it happen successfully for their clients.

Where exactly you may ask are these consumers buying and selling?

We tabulate sales closed by HomeGain home buyers and sellers and report by major Metropolitan Statistical Areas.

And here are the top 10 areas for both home buyers and sellers where HomeGain consumers closed sales during the 1st Quarter of 2008.

“May I have the envelope, please?”

Those MSA’s are:

Top MSA’s For HomeGain AgentEvaluator Agents in Q1 2008

  1. Washington, DC-Baltimore, MD
  2. Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
  3. Atlanta, GA
  4. Chicago, IL-Gary, IN-Kenosha, WI
  5. Los Angeles-Riverside County-Orange County, CA
  6. Houston-Galveston, TX
  7. New York City-Long Island, NY-Northern NJ-CT
  8. Philadelphia, PA-Wilmington, DE-Atlantic City, NJ
  9. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA
  10. Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint, MI

Since lead time until actual close in a sluggish market can be lengthy at best, and the market can change quickly, we want to give you information about what conditions our top performing agents are currently experiencing in these markets today.

On a high level, a couple of things are occurring in various markets.

  • The new FHA ceilings are creating opportunities for buyers, and they seem to be taking advantage.
  • Inventories remain high with seller incentives common.
  • And lastly, home buyers are starting to see the value of working directly with homeowners, rather than holding out for a deal with the banks on a short sale that can involve a lengthy negotiation period with no guarantee of landing a bargain.

Here’s what those top performing agents told us earlier this week about today’s state of these markets.

Washington, DC-Baltimore

We talked to Eric Pakulla with RE/MAX Advantage and he is cautiously optimistic about the current DC-Baltimore market. Eric told us “It is an excellent time to buy a home. Whether it be investment properties or someone’s first home. There is a large inventory of homes to choose from.”

Having said that, Eric still sees a lot of foreclosures in his area. His office receives quite a few calls from sellers to help with short sales.

“Banks and mortgage companies are willing to work with homeowners in distress, but it is not a quick or easy process” and that is something the public does not often realize.

Eric also said “if the property is priced correctly, it should sell for asking price relatively quickly.”

An agent in the “Bulls eye” area of Maryland, DC, and Virginia is Michael Fabrik of Long & Foster Real Estate.

According to Michael, “It is starting to become a stabilized market again.”

In the preferred, more expensive parts of the “Bulls eye” area, properties are moving and “selling between 30 to 60 days on the market”. Normal incentives are being offered by the seller and there is traditional price-haggling from home buyers.

Are there Foreclosures? He says “yes”, they exist in the Fairfax area and are driving down that market.


We talked to Barbara Tidwell of Keller Williams Realty in Dallas. Barbara reports the Dallas market is picking up slightly. There’s a big supply of homes, and a lot of foreclosures. Home values have increased slightly over the past year.

Barbara said that in terms of qualifying buyers for homes:

“FHA is back, being that sub-prime has disappeared. With FHA buyers don’t need that high of a credit score and only 3% down, making it easier for people to qualify.”


Over in Atlanta, 3rd in total sales for both buyers and sellers, agent Jennifer Walker-Derby at RE/MAX Westside in suburban Atlanta told us current inventory of single family homes in metro Atlanta is approximately 15.7 months.

Jennifer said there remain lots of foreclosures and “it is a 50/50 split as to whether sellers are reducing prices (of between $10K – $100K) or offering incentives such as increased Realtor commission and bonuses”.

One aggressive seller on the advice of their agent offered to pay for a one-week cruise for four, and another a brand new Honda Civic to entice buyers to make an offer!


The Chicago metropolitan area continues to be an active real estate market for HomeGain agents. One of our long-time members, who prefers not to be named, told us in confidence that she is busier “than last year at this time.”

She added that:

“What we do know is that homes priced correctly are going under contract. I see more homes offering home warranties then before.”

She also said that the trend is for buyers to spend more time looking at homes before making a decision. This requires many Realtors to “show buyers upwards of 40 homes” which translates into a bigger time investment for busy agents.

Buyers are also making lower offers on homes, which is not to their advantage when a home is priced right to begin with. Currently getting a buyer under contract takes longer for most Realtors and is more work because of writing more contracts and negotiations.

It is still a great buyer’s market and many home buyers are successfully purchasing homes at lower prices then before.

Foreclosures, this agent told us, are prevalent. The banks make it very difficult to purchase a foreclosure.

“It can take several weeks to go through the negotiation process and the banks will often negotiate more then one offer at a time (which is not right),” she said.

Los Angeles-Riverside County-Orange County, CA

“Well, Spring is here, and it is definitely still a buyer’s market” says Peggy Aldinger of Pacific Cove Realty in Irvine, CA.

Peggy indicated that as banks scramble to unload their REO inventory, it seems to have given new hope to owner/sellers. She said:

“I am finding it easier to sell my owner properties because buyers are becoming wise to the banks way of doing business.”

Or maybe Peggy is just doing a great job of educating her clients.

“In a short sale situation banks can take anywhere from 30 days to 180 days to get back to you on your offer. Listing agents for banks are putting the listing price way below what the banks will actually take. I think buyers are growing weary on trying to score bargains that are only an illusion. They are coming back to reality and choosing homes from owners again. The owner has an advantage because they maintain their homes and are easier to negotiate with. As far as incentives, it is not unusual to see listing agents give 4% to the buyers agent in order to sway them there way. If homeowners price their homes right, the average listing time is 60-90 days compared with a year ago 90-180. Rents are high and in demand still but with the new FHA limits we are getting a whole new crop of first time buyers. Overall, in Orange County I see light at the end of the tunnel. The inland empire and Riverside areas will unfortunately take much longer to recover. What goes down must come up eventually!”

I’d like to thank these HomeGain Top Performers for updating us on the very latest market trends.

I’ll report more local market feedback for markets ranked from 6 through 10 in the next couple of days.



2 Comments on “HomeGain First Quarter 2008 Home Sales Report – Part 1”


Great news for Homegain and for real estate people who get sucked into the media’s portrayal of how the market is rather than word from the street. When you compare this list above to the list of most searches cities taken from http://www.Frontdoor.com ( New York Real Estate | Atlanta Real Estate | Detroit Real Estate | Chicago Real Estate | Los Angeles Real Estate | Philadelphia Real Estate | Dallas Real Estate | Riverside Real Estate | Tampa Real Estate | Houston Real Estate) a more uplifting real estate story unfolds.

Keeps up the good work Homegain agents.

Tim Fagan

Great data, Peggy, thanks….and keep it coming. I agree with Marc’s comment, oftentimes folks in the media become only casual acquaintances with real data, and as a result popular perception can get spun out of control…

Thanks again, and keep up the good fight,

Tim Fagan

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