It would be a challenge to find a recent national television newscast that doesn’t have a segment that focuses on or references the current housing market. As the President of the Huntington Board of REALTORS®, I answer questions about our real estate market on a regular basis. I get questions about staging a home to sell. I get asked how the new tax credit works for homebuyers (FYI: this can save you thousands of dollars. Ask your REALTOR® for details)! However, the most popular question I receive is simply “How’s the real estate market?”
My answer to any real estate question is based upon local data and experience. After all, it would not make sense to advise a potential home seller in Barboursville to spend $15,000 remodeling their basement because it worked on a TV reality show for a home seller in New York. Likewise, fluctuating home prices in Scottsdale, Arizona do not directly affect someone looking for a four-bedroom home with a two-car garage in Chesapeake.
What is happening today in real estate on a national level does not reflect trends we are experiencing in the River Cities. There are thousands of real estate markets and ours continues to defy most trends you read and hear about from national media outlets.
In fact, statistics indicate good news for the Tri-State area! According to the Huntington Board of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service, the local median home sale price in April 2009 increased eight percent when compared to April 2008. Those numbers are a welcome contrast to national home prices which were approximately 15 percent below where they were a year ago.
The National Association of REALTORS® recently reported the number of existing home sales across the country in April 2009 increased almost three percent from March 2009..The Huntington Board of REALTORS® is pleased to announce sales in our MLS rose approximately 20 percent from March to April 2009.
NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth, said conditions are optimal for buyers with good jobs and long-term plans. “We have record low mortgage interest rates, a wide selection of homes and affordable prices in most areas,” he said. “When you add the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit, it’s hard to imagine a better time to make an investment in your future through homeownership.”
That same outlook is certainly true in the Tri-State.
The biggest enemy of today’s housing market and the economy in general is uncertainty. There are homesellers and homebuyers who want to “weather the storm”. But, ask yourself if it’s raining in Florida, do you grab an umbrella, too?
There are ample signs suggesting a sizable, pent-up demand in the real estate marketplace. One indicator is that real estate websites such as realtor.com are reporting record numbers of visitors each month. Yet, home sales have remained soft. I compare it to a busy mall but only a few people have shopping bags in their hands.
There is no doubt a lack of buyer confidence exists in the U.S. Yet, our local market data gives an optimistic prediction of the summer housing market. Is this the right time for you to buy or sell a home? Contact a REALTOR® for a consultation.