Of course, builders are not providing as many inventory homes and only building once
a qualified buyer has signed a contract. This causes a less supply combined with
a growing population.
Joe Matthews, Broker
Real Triangle Properties
However, there are a couple of reasons why the asking price might appear high. And, logically, either the higher price IS justified, or it is NOT justified.
Recognize that what a home sold for in 2001-2003 isn't a good indicator of current value. Though I'd agree that most homes that were sold for about $200,000 back then might be going for $220,000-$250,000 today. Similarly, you'd have to make sure that the new homes are comparable, too. So what would justify such a seemingly high price? Perhaps a huge number of improvements in the home. Not likely, true. But if the owners put in $100,000-$120,000 or so in improvements and upgrades (amazing new kitchen, great finished basement, hardwood floors, and so on), it could raise the value of a property by maybe $30,000-$40,000 or so. That is, if someone's willing to pay $30,000-$40,000 more for all the upgrades. There's a real danger in overimproving a property to that extent.
However, I'd be more inclined to agree with your assumption that the home may be overpriced. So why would they price it so high? First possibility is that they owe $245,000 or so on the house and want to at least break even. So they priced it at $270,000.
Or maybe they want some cash out in order to buy another home. Maybe one they've already put a contract on. And to get that amount of cash, they need to sell their home for $270,000.
Or maybe they remember what the homes were selling at during the bubble. Maybe someone down the street managed to get $270,000 or more for a home, and the sellers don't really believe the market's come down much.
Or maybe--less like but possible--the agent who got the listing said something like: "Why don't we try pricing it at $270,000? That's at the high end, and we can always reduce the price if we don't attract sufficient interest." Some agents--not many, but some--will try to "buy" a listing by suggesting an unreasonably high price, knowing that it'll have to be dropped back down to the reasonable range after a few weeks.
So, those are all possibilities.
If you're interested in the home, what should you do? Have your Realtor run a CMA on the property. Then resolve to pay no more than the property's true value. Probably offer less. So, in your scenario, let's say the CMA suggests a price of around $225,000. You make an offer at $225,000 or less. Probably less--but ask your Realtor for guidance and strategy. So let's say you make an offer at $215,000. (I'm just making these numbers up.) Should you be concerned that the sellers perceive an offer of $215,000 on a home they've priced at $270,000 to be a "lowball offer."
Not at all.
You haven't made a lowball offer. You've made a reasonable offer on a home worth about $225,000. Don't worry about the sellers, and don't worry about the listing price. Make an offer based on the real value of the home.
Hope that helps.