Survey: Hopeful on home prices

Tax credit spurs sales, for now

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An increasing number of real estate agents and brokers expect home prices will either stay flat or increase in the next six months, according to a fourth-quarter survey by online real estate marketing company HomeGain. Forty-eight percent of agents and brokers surveyed think home prices will stay the same and 24 percent think prices will go up, the company reported. That's a slight increase from the third-quarter survey, when those numbers were 46 percent and 23 percent, respectively. This marks a major change from HomeGain's first-quarter survey when 36 percent thought prices would remain flat and 11 percent thought prices would increase. The survey had 928 respondents. The survey also found real estate agents believe the first-time homebuyers tax credit has spurred sales, for now. "(Respondents), however, expressed concerns about the cost of the credit to taxpayers and whether sales will continue once the credit expires later next year and additional inventory hits the ...