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Home sellers to seek alternatives in 2006

Guest forecast: Softening market brings change for real estate next year

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ForSaleByOwner.com, a national real estate services company that allows home buyers and sellers to connect online without the need for a real estate agent, makes the following predictions for real estate in 2006: 1. Shrinking bubble means home sellers seek alternatives. According to industry data, 10 percent of home sellers used a discount method in 2005. As home sales soften in 2006, savvy consumers will keep turning towards alternatives like no-commission services and discount Realtors to save money on real estate transactions in a softer market. 2. From "for sale" to "for hire." The number of working Realtors will decrease in 2006 as slower home sales crunch salaries. 3. New construction costs will rise. The price of new construction will rise in 2006 due in part to the volume of materials earmarked for hurricane victims. As a result, consumers will want to buy in more established neighborhoods where they will be able to find better deals.  4. Renovations turn up the heat. ...