Confidence is behind it all. Fifty-two percent said they were confident that now is a good time to sell, versus just 37.5 percent three months ago. This, conversely, as sales of existing homes were actually lower in March by 7.5 percent from a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Another survey of 1,000 homeowners and renters by mortgage giant Fannie Mae found that those who say it is a good time to buy a house held steady in April at 69 percent, but those who say it is a good time to sell increased 4 percentage points from the previous month to 42 percent, an all-time survey high.
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"Consistent with (April's) upbeat jobs report, concern about job loss among employed consumers also has hit a record survey low. These results are in line with our expectations for increased housing activity and gradual strengthening of the housing market going into the spring and summer selling season," said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae's chief economist.
More sellers now say they are pricing their homes high because they are willing to wait if it doesn't sell, according to Redfin. An increasing number of sellers also say they are pricing high because they need that value to pay off their mortgages. Nearly 10 million U.S. homeowners were underwater on their mortgages at the end of last year, according to Zillow.
The Soricelli family in northern Virginia thought about selling their home a year ago, but held off, hoping that prices would improve. After watching solid home appreciation in the neighborhood and across the country, they decided to put their home up for sale this spring. Their asking price, however, was higher than their real estate agent, Cunningham, thought was realistic.
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"My wife and myself, we take a lot of pride in our house and did a lot of upgrades," said Brad Soricelli. "We put a lot of money into it, so in trying to reconcile that with what the market is now, there was a little back and forth."
Cunningham said he is usually able to talk his clients back to reality by showing them comparable sales, but the data can be confusing. That is especially true in markets where investors and all-cash buyers are more prevalent.
Sellers are more likely to get their asking price from an all-cash buyer, and all cash means there will be no appraisal issues. However, for those in markets where there are fewer investors and all-cash buyers, commanding an above-market price is a dicey proposition. Even if they do strike a deal with a credit-dependent buyer, they are at the mercy of the appraiser, who will make the final decision as to the real market value of the home.