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Happiest home sellers live on West coast

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 2:31 p.m. CDT

By S.E. Slack

Is there anywhere home sellers are happy? Real estate firm Zillow says yes, but most live on the West coast. The further east you roam, the longer a listing will sit on the market. In Chicago, it will take about 100 days to get it done. That’s give-or-take a few weeks, of course, depending on the specific part of Chicago your home is in.

Metro areas in the West have the shortest days on the market according to Skylar Olsen, economist for real estate firm Zillow. The company has tracked home sales and listings nationwide since the beginning of 2010 to determine the seasonal nature of the housing market and reveal how quickly homes are selling currently.

The number of days on the market typically varies because of market conditions, regulatory and procedural differences. Short timeframes indicate strong rebounds in a specific market; longer timeframes indicate a weak market that local homeowners already recognize. In the Chicago area, for example, more than a third of all homes are still being sold at a loss for the homeowner.

“In San Francisco, it only takes 48 days to go from listing a home to signing papers,” Olsen said. Her research shows that just south of that city, in San Jose, days on market are even quicker at only 43 days. This is in sharp contrast to some metros further East like New York (151 days), Fayetteville, North Carolina (174 days), and Jacksonville, Fla. (174 days).

Nationwide, constrained inventories are still a problem in many markets. Even though more and more homeowners are finally able to breathe after being underwater with their mortgages for several years, there are still plenty who can’t afford to sell at the bargain basement prices that investors and home buyers have come to expect.

“This has constrained inventory in the same places where people are ready to buy,” said Olsen. “Put it all together and you’ve got metro areas where some homes are flying off the market almost as soon as they’re listed.”

For most, however, selling a home will remain a snail’s game for the near future.

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