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Keepin' It Real (Estate): Realtors Try Used-Car Salesman Tactics


Getting to the bottom of housing.

That glitzy McMansion you've always wanted may finally be within reach.

Or not.

If nearly 3 years of home price declines, historically low interest rates and a relentless media barrage of half-truths from the National Association of Realtors haven't been able to stabilize home prices, it's doubtful a gimmicky used-car-style sales event will do the trick.

Coldwell Banker, one of the nation's largest real-estate brokerages, launched a nationwide campaign last Friday to boost the flagging housing market. The 10-day sales event aims to close the gap between buyers and sellers by offering up to a 10% discount on listed homes for, you guessed it, 10 days.

This selling bonanza was hatched in response to a recent survey of over 3000 of the firm's real estate agents, which found that a majority feel listing prices are too high to attract buyers. The survey also showed almost 80% of the agents believe more appropriately priced homes are garnering more attention; apparently, you need a license to know people like to pay less for a house, not more.

Coldwell Banker's president and CEO, Jim Gillespie, is confident the housing market may finally be nearing a bottom. He told our friends at Marketwatch: "Despite the difficult headlines regarding our overall economy, the residential real estate market has been showing several positive signs over recent months that could be signaling a tipping point."

It's unclear whether continuing price declines, historically high levels of inventory, tightening lending requirements or frozen credit markets are the "positive signs" he's referring to.

Gillespie also believes the unprecedented sales event will encourage buyers to jump back into the market: "Because of higher inventory, buyers have more homes to choose from and they can take advantage of near historically low interest rates and affordability levels that are the best they have been in years."

Yes, affordability levels are the best they have been in years: Much better than when the only way to get into a house was to lie about your income and take out an Option ARM with a 1% teaser rate.
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