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Homebuyers gain bargaining power

Many California markets run counter to trend

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Homebuyers negotiated higher discounts in December, according to a study by real estate search and valuation site Zillow. Buyers nationwide haggled a median 2.7 percent, or $5,618, off the last listing price of homes sold in December, a slight increase from 2.6 percent, or $5,538, in November, and the first and only month-to-month increase in 2009. Bargaining power decreased significantly year-over-year, however. In December 2008, buyers were able to knock a median 4.5 percent, or $10,018, off the last listing price. To calculate the figures, the site compared the last listing price to the final sale price of about 49 million individual homes (single-family houses, condominuims and co-ops) in 131 metropolitan areas nationwide. The median national listing price increased 0.4 percent month-to-month, to $209,900, but decreased 6.7 percent year-over-year. Discounts varied widely by region, with Florida buyers especially likely to get them and California buyers more likely purchase ho...