Wow! What a ride we have been on the past few years. Is fair to say that the Realtor's who have weathered this storm can weather anything? Or is the storm over? The market has to turn. But the question is when?
Below is data pulled from the Columbus, GA MLS regarding the number of homes in inventory and the number of homes sold. The following data is based on single family homes in Columbus Georgia.
2009 2010 2011
MONTH SALES INVENTORY SALES INVENTORY SALES INVENTORY
February 115 596 105 1048 72 1637
January 75 587 77 1039 77 1604
December 130 600 108 964 116 1550
The Columbus, GA inventory has more than doubled over the last three years. And the number of sales per month has remained relatively consistent. So what does this mean? Tough economic times have prompted many home owners to try and sell their homes. Many of these sellers bought when the market was at it's peak and lenders were loaning money to anyone with a ID (and in some cases, without). A fair amount of the homes in Columbus are over priced. Many more are fairly priced, but with such stiff competition in the housing market, are sitting on the market for long periods of time. My opinion is that a significant amount of these home owners will loose their home to foreclosure because they can't sell their home fast enough.
However, Columbus is fortunate to have Fort Benning located in it's backyard. And thanks to BRAC, our city is expecting 30,000 new residents. Many will rent, but some will buy. But they will spend money and boost our economy and many new jobs are expected to be created.
The rental market will definitely boom. But if homeowners can be patient, they should be able to see a reduction in inventory and better market conditions, too. However, pricing of the homes will remain key, as we are years off from "taking orders" at crazy prices.
But what if a homeowner can't hold on? If they have a hardship, which is loosely defined by each individual bank, then they may qualify for a short sale. See the difference between a short sale vs a foreclosure here. Realtors owe it to their clients to give them options and educate them. And if they aren't comfortable with helping their clients through the short-sale process in Columbus, then they should refer them to another qualified Columbus, GA agent.
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