Local home sales steady

Published 12:04 am Thursday, December 23, 2010

Despite taking longer to sell and a declining inventory, local real estate sales are holding steady.

Debra Donaldson, president of the Covington Association of Realtors, said that sales are not up locally.

“With that said, sales in general have been up for us all year compared to other areas,” Donaldson said. “We had 18 sales in November and the average selling price was $109,000.”

She said the number of days on the market increased to 234.

Comparative figures show in July, realtors sold 18 homes with an average price of $70,450 and 132 days on the market.

In August, that average price increased to $124,139 and 253 days on the market.

“Why the difference? That’s a good question,” Donaldson said. “There are a number of factors. People are buying homes, but there is less inventory on the market. Right now, there are 297 homes listed. So, maybe it’s the fact that there is less on the market and people are reducing prices, which makes it more affordable to buy a home.”

Nationally, the sales of previously owned homes edged up in November, the third increase in four months after a dismal summer for home buying.

The National Association of Realtors reports that people bought previously owned homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.68 million units last month, a gain of 5.6 percent from October, with the national median price of $170,600.

Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to factor out seasonal variations in resale activity. For example, home sales volume is normally higher in the summer than in the winter, primarily because of differences in the weather and family buying patterns.

Donaldson said those increases could be attributed to good interest rates and available financing.

“From what we’ve seen, it’s not been difficult for our people to get financing,” she said. “The interest rates are still good. The only issue we’ve come across in financing is for those who own their own business. I guess with the uncertainty in the market, lenders are still hesitant.”

Donaldson said with nearly a week left in the month, it’s still too early to see where December’s figures will fall.

“I haven’t pulled any statistics, but I do know overall this year, our office (Coldwell Banker First Choice Realty) has sold more than $14 million,” she said. “And that figure is comparable to 2007, which was a really, really big year for real estate locally.

“So, I think the market is really good here,” she said.