Home sales steady here

Published 12:38 am Saturday, June 4, 2016


Home sales in Covington County remain steady over the last year, local Realtors said.

“We pulled the Covington County MLS residential statistics to compare 2016 with 2015 at the same point – May 31,” said Tripp Bass of the Bass Agency. “

Bass said that the average selling price increased to $97,235 in 2016 compared to $94,283 last year.

THe June Real Estate Guide is available in today's print edition and in Real Estate Preview racks throughout the county.

THe June Real Estate Guide is available in today’s print edition and in Real Estate Preview racks throughout the county.

“The overall residential volume was slightly lower at $9,237,324 this year compared to $9,522,614 in 2015,” he said. “The number of residential homes on the market is up about 13 percent this year. Average days on the market for residential remained unchanged at 198 days.”

Bass said the overall sales volume for all MLS sold properties is almost identical at $26,794,310 compared to $26,895,832 last year.”

Bass said that the summer months are typically local Realtors’ busiest season.

“Typically our most traffic and real estate activity is during the summer and this year is no exception,” he said. “Everyone is very busy.”

This month marks National Homeownership Month.

“Owning a home helps promote stable communities and is one of the best ways American families can build wealth,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “During the Obama Administration, USDA has helped more than 1 million rural families and individuals realize their dreams of homeownership.”

Vilsack said USDA builds strong relationships with lenders, home builders, Realtors, community development organizations, non-profits and housing finance authorities to provide homeownership opportunities to very-low, low and moderate-income individuals in rural areas.

USDA’s Guaranteed Loan program is one of those programs.

It increases access to mortgage financing in rural communities by offering approved lenders a 90 percent loan guarantee to offset their risk if a borrower defaults.

With this program, no down payment is required from the applicant and it offers a fixed interest rate and has a 30-year loan term.

Additionally, USDA said it has announced a series of changes that will make it faster and cheaper for rural homeowners with USDA-backed mortgages to refinance their loans and save money with a lower interest rate.

The changes took effect Thursday.

Interested homeowners with USDA loan guarantees should contact their lender about refinance procedures.

Angie Metcalf, who was a real estate business owner for years and sold her agency earlier this year, said that Andalusia and Opp homebuyers are both eligible for the USDA loans.

Metcalf said that Realtors in the Opp area are hopeful that Opp might benefit from business from the Enteprise area.

“Enterprise is too large of a city to qualify for USDA loans,” she said. “We certainly hope this will affect our market. So far, we can not say it has.”

There are 62 listings on the Covington Association of Realtors’ website for Opp.

Prices range from $549,950 for the most expensive property – a four bedroom, three-and-a-half bath, two-story home with 5,298 square feet.

The least expensive is a two bedroom, two bath home with 700 square feet, listed at $15,000.

A search of just Andalusia netted 115 properties ranging in price from $700,000 to $11,500.

A search of Gantt Lake and Point A waterfront properties revealed 33 properties ranging from $449,000 to $79,000.