Few things are better barometers of our area’s economy than home sales.
Homes are selling when people are employed and are making a livable wage. They sell when consumers have confidence that they’ll be able to keep their jobs and those wages.
They sell when conditions are favorable to the purchasers — when prices are fair and interest rates are low.
According to new information from the Albany Board of Realtors, homes in Dougherty and Lee counties are selling at a faster rate overall than at any time since 2007, when the economic downturn began.
That’s welcome news for those in the real estate business specifically and for the entire business community in general. A healthy pace of home sales impacts every segment of the community.
Listed below are several points to show why the real estate community is optimistic.
- Total annual sales volume in 2012 was up 9.23 percent over 2011. This was the first annual increase since 2007.
- Total sales volume for the first quarter of 2013 was up 6.7 percent over the first quarter of 2012.
- Median home prices rose 6.5 percent for the first quarter of this year over the first quarter of 2012.
- Average days on the market dropped from 176 days in the first quarter of 2012 to 135 days in the first quarter of 2013.
n New listings in the market decreased 13.7 percent from 452 new listings in the first quarter of 2012 versus 390 new listings in the first quarter of 2013.
Local Realtors believe the information above indicates the market is stabilizing.
For those who want to enter the market, rarely has there been a better time. Interest rates remain near historically low levels. Prices remain below where they were before the downturn.
First-time home buyers often can find 100 percent financing from federal lenders. For other loans, homebuyers may have to come up with a small down payment and some closing expenses. Real estate professionals are trained not just to find the right home, but also to find the best financial arrangement. For most prospects, it’s better financially to purchase a home rather than rent.
Of particularly significance to existing homeowners is the increase in prices. The purchase of a home is often the biggest purchase a consumer will make in his or her lifetime.
For most of recent history, homeowners have counted on that home to increase in value, therefore making it one of their major wealth builders.
Albany Realtors are optimistic that prices could continue to rebound because of the higher volume, reduced days on the market and less inventory.
Hopefully, the trend continues. We’re in the midst of what is typically the best selling season for Realtors. If 2013 continues this pattern, or even surpasses it, we soon could even see a rebound in new home construction.