Flattening real estate values cause homeowner heartache

What if homes in your neighborhood aren't appreciating?

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DEAR BOB: My neighborhood seems to be in a vicious cycle. Other neighborhoods around town show significant appreciation in market value. But ours is flat. When realty agents list homes in my area at prices comparable to the other neighborhoods, the buyer's mortgage usually is denied due to a low appraisal. Even after a second or third appraisal, the seller is then forced to reduce the sales price by $10,000 to $15,000 or lose the buyer. Can a home seller refuse to lower his price when the buyer's mortgage is denied due to a low appraisal? – Robert M. DEAR ROBERT: You probably read in the newspaper recently that homes, on average nationwide, appreciated more than 9 percent in the last 12 months. That is a fantastic appreciation rate. Historically, homes usually appreciate in market value about 5 percent annually. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. Perhaps homes for sale in your neighborhood have asking prices that are too high. Listing agents recommend asking prices based on re...