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U.S. home buyers' negotiating power falls: Zillow

A home sold by KB Home displays a "sold" sign out front in Golden, Colorado October 27, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Home buyers in much of the United States paid thousands of dollars below asking prices in September, but had slightly less negotiating power than in August, real estate website Zillow.com said on Wednesday.

According to the September Zillow Real Estate Market Reports, buyers paid 2.9 percent less, or a median of $6,161, below the listing price on homes bought in September, down from 3 percent, or $6,525, for homes bought in August.

Buyers’ negotiating power peaked in January, when buyers paid 4.5 percent below list price, a median of $10,096, Zillow said.

Meanwhile, 22.7 percent of all homes listed for sale on Zillow had at least one price reduction as of the end of September. The median U.S. reduction was 6.5 percent off the original listing price, the reports showed.

Despite the overall weakness in prices, buyers paid more than asking price in seven metro areas. Most of these were in areas of California that have been hardest-hit by foreclosures. In Stockton, buyers paid a median 2.4 percent, or $4,564, more than asking price. In Las Vegas, buyers also paid more than asking price, at a median 0.5 percent, or $836, the reports showed.

Vero Beach, Florida, saw the biggest discounts off list prices again in September, with buyers paying a median 8.1 percent off the final price of homes. Based on a median listing price of $235,000, that translated to a discount of nearly $19,000, Zillow said.

The Florida markets of Naples, Sarasota and Panama City were the other top negotiating spots, with buyers negotiating more than 7 percent off the final listing price, the reports showed.

Reporting by Julie Haviv; Editing by Leslie Adler

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