As I was leaving an open house today (boy, those are getting fraught these days) a real estate agent with a huge amount of experience and wisdom said to me, “This thing has has to be priced at X (25% lower than its asking price). I agreed – if anything, she was being too generous, but she, unlike me, doesn’t blog and keeps her opinions to herself. But her words demonstrate what I’ve said here before: agents on top of their game know an over-priced piece of erhumph when we see one – everyone knows it, we just haven’t said so before. But we didn’t sell them to our clients at that price, either. The Greenwich Board has kept an illusion going for years by showing a “sell to ask” ratio of around 96% but wouldn’t disclose that they used the last asking price, not the first. So houses would come on, sit for a good long while, drop down to the realm of what passed for reasonableness and move off the market at 15%-25% below their first price. I complained, in print, about this bit of chicanery many times to no effect – the realtors like it that way.
What’s (almost) funny now is that sellers and their agents are still trying out ridiculous prices, I guess in the hope that some sucker will bite. That’s not happening these days – it’s hard enough to convince a buyer that a certain price is a good one even after four price reductions, so my advice is that this is not the market to continue that practice. But they keep on. I can’t remember how many houses I’ve seen recently that were truly priced to sell, but if I could, I’m sure I wouldn’t need more than the fingers on one hand to count them.