Practice of ‘egregious underpricing’ driving up East Bay home prices

1800 Sonoma Ave. in Berkeley: this house sold for $1,640,000 in September, $545,000 over the asking price. Photo: MLS

When prospective homebuyers Allyson and William Murphy found a Richmond home in their price range, they jumped on it, offering $95,000 above the asking price.

To the Murphys’ dismay, the sellers countered, asking for $800,000, a whopping $120,000 over the $680,000 listing price.

“I don’t know why they are listing them the way they are listing them,” Allyson said, referring to the huge gap between the asking and desired price.

The reason: listing a property for less than the seller really wants likely will create competition and drive up the price. It’s an established marketing strategy that has reached exaggerated levels in parts of the East Bay, to the point where there’s a term for it: egregious underpricing.

“A lot of listing agents will list the

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