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Old 08-20-2006, 07:50 AM
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Post Home Buyers, Sellers Wait Until Price is Met

RISMEDIA, August 21, 2006(MCT)--Open-house signs sprang up like sunflowers on corners and lawns throughout Orange County last weekend.

But for many real estate agents, it was a lonely vigil as few real buyers and a handful of neighborhood lookie-loos filtered through properties they had on display.

Many of the home shoppers on the prowl last weekend said they are in no hurry to buy. Time, they said, seems to be on their side.

"I've been purposely holding off," said Ray Poole, 54, an Irvine renter who toured model homes at Irvine's Woodbury development Sunday with his wife, Dena. "I want to wait for it to level off more. -- I probably will wait until at least after January."

Concert pianist Steve Siu and his girlfriend likewise are taking their time before moving up from their condo to a bigger place where he can put his grand piano on display.

"We're kind of picky, and we're not in a hurry," said Siu, 27, who goes by the nickname "Dr. Piano."

"I expect (prices) to come down a little bit, but not a lot," added his girlfriend, Tracy Tse, 27.

Several real estate agents say Poole and Siu are typical of what they're seeing these days. With more than twice as many homes on the market today as last summer, home shoppers are under less pressure to buy and believe they have more negotiating power.

At the same time, the increase in homes to pick from has slowed the decision-making process. And many buyers interviewed complained that prices still are too high.

Virginia defense worker Ray Paster, 37, said he's been frustrated in his effort to relocate to Orange County by what he called unrealistic homeowners who expect too much for their houses. He now is shopping for a new home because he can't find a reasonably priced resale house that meets his criteria.

He said he doesn't think sellers realize that when they look at comparable home sales, they should be looking to price their own home "at the same price or lower."

For their part, two homesellers said time is on their side.

Beverly Ann Huffman of San Juan Capistrano and Jerry Williams of Anaheim Hills both said they're willing to wait until someone meets their price.

Huffman, 62, wants to downsize, but can stay in her home of 16 years until someone buys it, she said. She plans to hold out for something close to her $729,000 asking price.

Williams, 68, a retired Register circulation manager, wants to sell so he and his wife can move closer to grandkids in Arizona. But there's no hurry, he said.

If "we get up in the morning and say, 'We miss the kids,' we just jump in the van and go," Williams said.

It hasn't been easy, though. There are more than a dozen homes for sale in his neighborhood. And after 64 days on the market, his $619,900 house drew just three or four lookers.

"I am a little frustrated," he said. "I've got a feeling this could be an October-November market. People are wanting to get in before Christmas. -- Who knows? The crystal ball got broken a long time ago."

Copyright 2006, The Orange County Register, Calif.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.

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Last edited by admin : 08-21-2006 at 05:20 AM.
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