Home Prices Fall, Sellers Suffer

The National Association of Realtors announced Monday that a key housing statistic -- the median sale price of a home -- had dropped for the first time in 11 years in August.

Experts say it's the most conclusive evidence yet that the housing market is in a slump.

In the West, homeowners trying to sell property have been hit the hardest.

Over the last two years, sales in the region have plummeted 22 percent.

Just outside Los Angeles, Cindy Schwanke's family is waging an all-out battle to sell its three-bedroom home.

"We never really thought we'd have a problem selling," she said.

After seven months and three real estate agents, there was still no sale.

So Schwanke quit her job as a pastry chef to focus all her efforts on selling her house.

"I just didn't have enough time to clean the house and stage it properly for Realtors to come in, and I felt very uncomfortable," she said.

To make her home more appealing, she spent $25,000 improving it, and she dropped her asking price by a whopping $100,000.

Buyers Benefit

If you're in the market to buy, Schwanke's pain could be your gain.

"A buyer has a choice. A year ago, they could say, you have to make a decision today or the house is gone, with multiple offers," said Paul Morad of Realty Executives. "Today, they could go home and think about it, come back tomorrow and place a reasonable offer on the property."

The nationwide median price of a home has dropped to $225,000.

In California, average home prices are more than double the median: $576,000.

In Los Angeles, that can buy an 1,100-square-foot house with three bedrooms and one bath.

Schwanke says her only option is making the sale of her home a personal investment.

"I try to bring people in. I bake cupcakes for them. I … offer them water, and I do whatever I can to make it a pleasant experience for them," she said.

So far, her cupcakes haven't done the trick.

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