Local realtors: May a good month

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 23, 2010

May brought positive signs to Covington County’s real estate market, local realtors said.

Among those signs were an overall increase in residential sales prices, a decrease in time on the market and low interest rates, all of which point to improvement in the economy.

Tripp Bass of the Bass Agency in Andalusia said the average residential sale price has increased from this point last year.

The year-to-date price is up nearly $10,000 from June 2009’s year-to-date numbers.

The average sale price for residential is $97,556 up from the average at this point last year of $88,147, he said.

Covington Association of Realtors president Debra Donaldson said May was a particularly good month for the local real estate market.

“During the month of May, we (the association of realtors) sold 20 houses, the average selling price was $95,000, the median was $69,990 and the average days on the market was 214,” she said.

“I think we are seeing some residential properties selling at higher prices than last year, and you can attribute this to the low 15-year and 30-year fixed rates,” Bass said.

“The interest rates for a 30-year mortgage is 4.5 percent and it’s 4.125 percent for 10 years,” Donaldson said. “Those are really, really good rates.”

Bass said he hopes that the current rates hold so that sellers can continue to hold their prices steady.

In addition, Donaldson said there are a few programs still available with 100 percent financing.

Donaldson said there are currently 312 residential houses on the market, and that’s up from 287 properties in April.

“A lot of people are doing it because most people feel that spring is the best time to do it because the flowers are coming out, and potential buyers can see what the yards look like,” she said.

In addition, Bass said the average days on the market for residential properties has decreased to 181 days this year from 192 at this point last year.

Bass said the number of properties selling has increased slightly.

“Overall transactions through (June 21) for residential, commercial and land is 244 compared to 234 this time last year,” Bass said. “So you can say, we’re doing a little better. Mainly, I think we are seeing more residential activity because of the lower interest rates.”

What does the future look like for the area housing market? “I think as long as the mortgage rates stay where they are it is bound to have a positive impact,” he said. “Economists predicted the rates will rise during the summer, but we haven’t seen that yet.”