The number of homes for sale is at the lowest point in more than 10 years, but with buyer demand still high, many markets are seeing bidding wars. A TIME magazine article recently asked: “Are buyers being manipulated into overbidding for the relatively few attractive homes on the market?”

Some real estate professionals say that homes are being underpriced in order to ignite a bidding war.

“Most people are not pricing at market value,” a real estate professional told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Even in this market, you don’t want to overprice.”

For example, the San Francisco-based agent said a two-bedroom townhouse in the area was priced at $659,000  recently, even after a similar townhome had sold a year ago for $675,000.

“We priced it intentionally to get multiple offers and sell quickly,” the agent says. The townhouse attracted nine offers and sold for 15 percent above the asking price — $755,000.

Bidding wars have become commonplace in markets like Denver, where half of the new homes on the market are selling in less than 30 days. In Northern and Southern California nine in 10 homes are attracting bidding wars, as well as two-thirds of the homes for sale in Boston, New York City, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., the TIME magazine article notes.

“The only question is not whether a new listing will get multiple bids but how many it will get,” says a Sacramento, Calif.-based real estate professional.

Source: “Forget Lowballing: Bidding Wars Return in Hot Housing Markets,” TIME (April 30, 2013)

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