EMERYVILLE, CALIF. - The gap between what online home sellers hoped to yield and what buyers wished to pay widened 2.4% in July, to $84,000, according to HomeGain.

The broker's monthly Online Real Estate Consumer Trends Report said that homeowners using the Internet to sell a home expected an average price of $225,000, down 0.8% from June.

The amount buyers said they wanted to pay averaged $141,000, down 2.8%.

At the start of 2001 the divide was $74,000.

Bradley J. Inman, the founder and chief executive officer of HomeGain, said in a press statement: "At the midpoint of the year, home buyers are more confident in their ability to cut a better deal in the marketplace. We're seeing prices softening across the country and sellers coming to our site are lowering their expectation as a result. Buyers are definitely in the driver's seat this summer and we expect many will yield even better deals this fall."

HomeGain released its July report Thursday.

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