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Freezing Conditions Keep Competition Down in December

December's bitterly cold weather kept home shoppers away from the market in December, driving competition down further across most markets.

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According to ""Redfin's"":http://www.redfin.com/ most recent ""Real-Time Bidding Wars"":http://www.redfin.com/research/reports/real-time-bidding-wars#.UuZo8RDnbIU report, 52.0 percent of offers made by the company's agents faced competition last month, down from 52.8 percent in November and 62.4 percent a year earlier.

Market-by-market data paints a revealing picture of the factors that influenced buyer competitiveness over the month.

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""Between November and December, half of the markets highlighted in this reported experienced an uptick in bidding wars while the other half saw competition fall,"" explained Redfin analyst Ellen Haberle. ""The contrasting bidding war trends likely reflect regional and seasonal factors that impacted the U.S. markets in December, including holidays, snow storms, and the limited number of homes for sale.""

Competition plummeted in the Northeast, which experienced ""[p]articularly frosty weather"" in the year's final month. Instances of competing offers dropped most in Boston and Baltimore, falling 19.7 and 13.5 percentage points, respectively.

According to Redfin agent Adam Welling: ""Boston had multiple snowstorms during December, which fully shut down home tours at times. For the adventurous homebuyers who braved the arctic-like conditions, the reward was a bit of space in a market that had otherwise been congested and claustrophobic.""

Though competition in the market is expected to return as December's chill thaws and the new season starts up, Haberle says ""the rebound is likely to be muted somewhat by continued snowy weather across the Midwest and the East Coast during January, which probably will lead many buyers to put their home shopping plans on hold.""

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