8 Cities to Get a Good Deal on a House in Right Now

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Home values have been falling across much of the country for about four years now. The silver lining is that in some areas it’s now possible to buy a home at prices not seen since 2001 or 2002. With homes sitting on the market for months, buyers often have lots of leverage room to negotiate –  not only on price — but on extras like repair allowances and closing costs.

Real estate website Zillow is able to track the price at which homes are listed for sale, and what they eventually sell for, providing insight into where buyers have the most negotiating power. While it’s a buyer’s market in most places around the country, these eight markets, in no particular order, are especially buyer-friendly.

1. Sarasota, FL
634 Ohio Pl, Sarasota, FL 34236
Home for Sale – $549,000. (Last sold for $560,000 in 2004.)

Like most places in Florida,Sarasota real estate was hit hard during the housing downturn. But, Sarasota home values are back to levels last seen in 2002.  On average, buyers are negotiating nearly 7 percent from the list price in Sarasota, which translates to a discount of more than $14,000.

2. Chicago, IL
3400 N Kilpatrick Ave, Chicago, Il 60641
Home for Sale — $449,000 (Last sold for $541,500 in 2005.)

When you think of the markets that were deeply affected by the housing market, Chicago doesn’t necessarily spring to mind. Yet, Chicago home values are down 35.5 percent from the market’s peak in 2006  and down 11 percent just this year. That means Chicago real estate has gotten much more affordable. Sellers are clearly motivated, enabling buyers to negotiate on average, $11,000, or 5.5 percent, off the list price.

3. Toledo, OH 
5910 Reinwood Dr, Toledo, OH 43613
Home for Sale — $200,000. (Last sold for $197,500 in 2002.)

Like Chicago, the Toledo real estate market was hit surprisingly hard by the housing recession. Toledo home values have fallen 27 percent since the peak in 2005, on par with the U.S.  fall from peak. Home values are now back to 2000 levels. Buyers are able to negotiate nearly 7 percent  from the list price, to the tune of about $6,100.

4. Worcester, MA 
51 Forest St, Worcester, MA 01609
Home for Sale –$299,900. (Last sold for $305,000 in 2003.)

Home values have fallen nearly 30 percent since the peak of the Worcester real estate market, bringing home values back down to levels last seen in 2003. Buyers have lots of room to negotiate here, bargaining $9,000 off the list price, or 4 percent.

5. San Luis Obispo, CA
1182 Wisteria Ln, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Recently Sold — $537,000 (Sold in 2004 for $660,000.)

Home values in this town, located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, didn’t fall as far as other California areas. Yet, San Luis Obispo real estate buyers are seeing discounts in the $16,000 range, or 3.7 percent, off the list price.

6. Tucson, AZ
1276 N Sun Catcher Way, Sahuarita, AZ 85614
Home for Sale – $395,000. (Last sold for $325,265 in 2004.)

Tuscon real estate is back to 2004 levels after falling 36 percent from peak in 2006, to a Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) of $150,271.  The average percent discount from list price is 3.7 percent, or a little over $6,500 dollars.

7.Minneapolis, MN
2100 33rd Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418
Home for Sale — $179,900. (Last sold for $187,500 in 2003.)

Minneapolis home values have fallen 33 percent from peak in 2006 and have returned to 2001 levels.  On average, Minneapolis real estate buyers are able to knock off  a little more than $6,000 from the list price in Minneapolis.

8. Tampa, FL
18111 Sugar Brooke Dr, Tampa, FL 33647 
Home for Sale — $300,000. (Last sold for $279,00 in 2003.)

With home values down 48 percent from the peak in 2006, and down 9 percent this year, sellers are clearly motivated in the Tampa real estate market. Buyers are able to negotiate a 6.7 percent discount from the list price which translates to $7,500.

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