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'Fixer-uppers' losing popularity as low inventories bite, Zillow says

By Mike Wheatley | October 26, 2016

Rising home prices and tough buyer competition may be giving sellers more flexibility to list their home for sale "as-is" without needing to fix it up first. There are 12 percent more fixer-upper homes on the market now than five years ago, and even more among high-priced homes in hot markets, according to a new Zillow analysis.


Zillow identified the number of fixer-upper homes listed for sale beginning in 2011 and ending in 2015, and compared them to overall for-sale inventory trends. To identify fixer-uppers, Zillow mined historical listing descriptions for phrases like "fixer-upper," "TLC" and "needs work."

Nationally, expensive fixer-uppers, or those priced within the top third of their markets, saw the biggest surge in inventory over the last five years, rising nearly 35 percent. Conversely, affordably priced fixer-uppers, or those valued within the bottom tier, increased less than 3 percent.

There are not enough homes on the market to accommodate buyer demand in many U.S. metros. As a result, sellers have increasingly more flexibility to list their home for sale "as is" because they know it will likely still sell. In Seattle for example, one of the nation's hottest housing markets, for-sale inventory has decreased 10 percent over the past five years, however fixer-upper listings increased 33 percent over the same time period.

Additionally, the age of the typical home sold has also nearly doubled in just nine years. In 2006, homes were 15 years old, by the end of 2015 the median age jumped to 28 years.

"Across the country, homes are selling fast and for high prices," says Svenja Gudell, Zillow's chief economist. "Sellers are in the driver's seat, with the freedom to list their home for sale 'as-is' without worrying about price cuts or the home sitting on the market. And without sufficient new construction the housing stock has aged, so home buyers are finding more and more homes on the market in need of a little TLC."

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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