Perhaps at least part of what may have been driving the hot California housing market is seller optimism.  The results of the California Association of Realtors'® (C.A.R.) 2013 California Home Sellers Survey shows sellers as much more upbeat about repurchasing a home than they have been in a while, thanks to the surge in home prices, record-low interest rates, and their own improving personal financial situations.

C.A.R. said that 69 percent of home sellers responding to its survey purchased another home after selling, up from 47 percent in 2012 and 12 percent in 2011.  This may reflect their reasons for selling which has shifted in only a year from the majority saying it was primarily because of financial difficulties in 2012 to the top reason in 2013 being a desire to trade up.  Other answers given in the recent survey were a desire to take advantage of low interest rates or to cash out at what might be at least a temporary peak in home prices.



 "Much-improved housing market conditions in the last year have given sellers more confidence to own a home rather than to rent one," said C.A.R. President Kevin Brown.  "With sellers being more positive about the future of home prices, the vast majority of sellers who are currently renting plan to buy again in the future.  In fact, 70 percent of sellers who are currently renting said they would purchase another home, up from 22 percent in 2012." 

The 2013 C.A.R. Home Seller survey was conducted by telephone with 600 people statewide to measure their perceptions of the home selling process.  Eligible respondents all closed escrow on their homes within the six months prior to August/September 2013. 

The survey found that nearly half or 43 percent of respondents expect home prices to rise over the next year.  That number jumps to 58 percent when the time period is extended to five years.  In the previous survey 9 percent expected a short term increase while 12 percent thought prices would rise over five years. 

Nearly all of the sellers, 98 percent, said they had received multiple offers on their home, up from 83 percent a year earlier.  The average number of offers was 5.9 compared to 3.1 in 2012.  This competitive market also led to bidding wars and 45 percent of sellers said they had received offers above their asking price and more than a third said they had received three or more such offers.  On average sellers received 2.2 offers above their asking price.



Technology is important to sellers; 51 percent found their agent on-line and more than two-thirds of sellers said was the most important website in their selling process.  Seventy-four percent incorporated social media into the selling process using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn or Yelp to learn more about their agents or to communicate with them.  One fourth of sellers used an agent with whom they had previously worked while only 3 percent gave this answer in 2012.