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My theory is that there is a significant slice of the buying market that would prefer a cheaper price and an opportunity to put their own sweat equity into the property. They also get to customize their new home the way THEY prefer.

That sort of depends on where you live. I sold a cooperative apartment in the best neighborhood in Brooklyn, one stop from Wall St. on the subway and a view to die for. There was a bidding war on my 850 sq. ft. apartment that sold for over $600,000. The person buying had thoughts of doing a major renovation anyway. She probably contracted to have the work done as she was a professional woman who most likely had no time to do much of it herself as was the case with many of the people who lived in the building.
For the most part, I did all the painting and wallpapering in my 3 homes over the course of 35 years. Our generation came up with very little money and wouldn't think of hiring someone to do what they could do themselves.
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