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FALL HOME UPDATE : Buyers, Sellers Play the Odds as Market Tilts


* Don't sell in today's market unless you really must. If you are forced to leave the area because of a job or family situation, you may not have a choice. But unless you have a compelling reason, this isn't the best time to sell your existing home. The market is already flooded with available homes.

* If you must sell, get serious. Forget what your home was worth three years ago and price it accordingly.

* Be prepared to offer special terms to a would-be buyer. In some cases, sellers are asked to pay all or part of the closing costs, or hold a portion of the mortgage.

And this advice to buyers:

* Decide on the neighborhood you want to live in first. Then study the property values. Look at what homes are actually selling for, not just the price for which they are listed.

* Find out how long the home you're interested in has been on the market. If a house has been available a long time, it can mean a number of things: The owner isn't willing to take less for it, or the owner may be growing impatient.

* Shopping till you drop isn't a smart philosophy when it comes to buying real estate. A lot of research and comparison shopping can be done from your desk.

More Homes for Sale

In two years, the number of homes for sale has doubled in some areas. Chart includes listings for Del Mar, Olivenhain, Solana Beach, Cardiff, Carmel Valley, Encinitas, Leucadia and Rancho Santa Fe.

More Homes for Sale

Today May '91 Mar. '90 May '89 Single-family detached 1,564 1,439 782 617 Days on market 144 113 82 71 Attached homes 651 622 346 296 Days on market 128 108 70 75

Source: San Dieguito Board of Realtors

Fewer Building Permits

Construction of new housing in North County has slowed dramatically. These statistics show the change in building permits issued for Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista.

1989 1990 1991 1992* Single-family 3,955 1,755 1,909 667 Multiple-family 1,739 1,177 684 107 Total 5,694 2,932 2,593 1,000

* 1992 figures are January through August; totals are estimated.

Source: Construction Industry Federation

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