As the spring selling season begins, anxious sellers are reducing the prices on their homes, but early signs suggest there is more discounting to come in the months ahead. Prices of properties listed for-sale fell in 14 of 23 major markets during March, according to a report released Thursday, while a composite measure of listing prices in 10 major U.S. metropolitan areas fell 1.3 percent for the month. Asking prices have declined 1.7 percent over the past three months, per a report issued by real estate research firm Altos Research and market analysis specialist Real IQ.
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Asking prices fell at the fastest rate in Chicago -- down 3.9 percent during March --- driven by a large increase in for-sale property inventory of 12.3 percent, the companies said. The largest quarterly declines occurred in San Francisco and Las Vegas, however, which were off 5.3 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively, during the month. Prices were also down by more than two percent for the quarter in San Diego, Detroit, Los Angeles, Tampa, Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis. "As the typically strong spring selling season gets underway, we are seeing sellers marking down prices to move their homes," said Michael Simonsen, CEO and co-founder of Altos Research. "The seasonal inventory buildup is only going to exacerbate the near-term supply-demand imbalance and put more pressure on sellers to reduce their price expectations." For-sale listed property inventories increased in 17 of 23 markets during March and all markets showed increases during the first quarter, according to the report. A 10-city composite index maintained in the report found that inventory experienced an increase of 4.7 percent for the month, and 7.4 percent during the first quarter. For the Altos 10-City composite index, the average days-on-market was 118 -- an improvement from 121 in February and 124 in January. Miami and Detroit experienced the longest time-on-market spans, with an average days-on-market of 146. Properties moves fastest in San Francisco (65 DOM) and Austin (67 DOM). "The slight decline in average days-on-market is a positive sign," said Stephen Bedikian, partner and research director for Real IQ, "but it’s likely to be only temporary as the inventory build up overwhelms tepid demand and drives time-on-market back upward." For more information, visit http://www.altosresearch.com, or http://www.realiq.com.