Industry News

Buyers gain ground as real estate market turns

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Real estate sales dropped 15 percent in first-quarter 2006 and the listing inventory grew 65 percent compared to the same period last year in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to a report released this week by Prudential California Realty. Consumer uncertainty and unseasonable rainfall contributed to the market slowdown, the company reported. Meanwhile, prices were up 8 percent in the quarter compared to first-quarter 2005. "Buyers' and sellers' expectations were worlds apart as rising inventory levels and a 'wait and see' attitude among consumers afforded buyers more leverage than they had in several years. Overall, sellers were slow to acknowledge the power shift and the discord in the market affected sales as both sides adjusted to the new normal," according to the report. "Several factors contributed to the significant drop in unit sales in first quarter," said Sherry Chris, chief operating officer of Prudential California Realty, based in Pleasanton, Calif. "Consumers were l...