JAN 8, 2014 4:22pm ET

Homebuyer Demand Tumbles, Anxiety Increases: Redfin

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Homebuyer demand took a sharper-than-expected drop in December, according the Redfin Real-Time Demand Pulse report that analyzes housing market demand based on home tour and offer data.

Offers declined 20.2% from November to December, compared to 16.7% during the same period of 2012.

While some decline is normal during the holiday season, the worsening shortage of homes “contributed to steep drops in home tour requests and signed offers.”

Homebuyer anxiety about the economy and mortgage rates “is starting to rise,” says Redfin agent Wayne Olson in Oregon. “My clients who were determined to find a home before year-end instead found few homes worth touring in December."

Report findings are based on information from the nation’s top 22 real estate markets. As a technology-powered real estate broker that represents buyers and sellers, Redfin uses its agent tours and offers information to project sales in U.S. markets before the 30- to 45-day period it takes for a sales process is completed and the loan goes to closing and the additional 15 to 30 days it takes for the sale to become part of the public record.

Data show the number of Redfin customers who scheduled home tours in December 2013 fell 14.8% month-over-month up from a 7.1% decline during the same period in 2012.

Offers signed by Redfin customers dropped 20.2% between November and December 2013, compared to a 16.7% drop during the same period last year.

Homebuyers are increasingly concerned about their budget and overall homeownership affordability, argues Olson. “They're also worried about facing stiff competition in the coming months as more buyers enter the market."

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