Friday, March 19 2010
Realtors cite federal tax credit, very low interest rate.
The $6,500 federal tax credit for home-owners buying their next home is being credited for part of the upward movement in house prices in Vanderburgh and surrounding counties.
According to a report by the Evansville Area Association of Realtors, the sale price of single-family homes in Vanderburgh, Warrick, Posey and Gibson counties in January and February increased by 13.5 percent over the same period last year.
Chris Dickson, the association's president-elect, said he believes the tax credit brought out buyers for homes in the range of $150,000 to $250,000.
"There are more buyers in the market looking to take advantage of the federal tax incentives," said Dickson.
"The fact that average sale prices in 2010 are starting out strong, compared to 2009, also shows that the housing market in this area continues to rebound."
Dickson also attributed the increase in part to mortgage rates that remain at historic lows.
Bob Reid, president of the Realtors association, agreed.
He predicted March and April also will be strong as the April 30 deadline nears for the expiration of the $6,500 tax credit and for the $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time home buyers.
"There's been no discussion about extending the credits," Reid said.
According to Reid, a person must sign a contract agreement to buy a house by April 30 and must close on the house purchase by June 30 to be eligible for the tax credits.
In January and February this year, the average house sale price in the four counties was $126,282, up from $111,603 in the same two months in 2009, according to the association report.
In Vanderburgh County, the average sale price for the two months rose 7.7 percent to $104,380.
The price was $96,849 for the same period in 2009.
Dickson said Warrick County had the biggest increase, rising by 15.59 percent to $186,818, compared with $161,148 in 2009.
The number of homes sold in the four-county area remained about the same: 341 sold the past two months compared with 343 for the same period last year.
The number of days it took to sell a house on average was 100 in January and February, compared with 110 in 2009.
Because of the increase in the average sale price, the overall volume rose 12.8 percent with more than $43.1 million in homes sold in January and February, compared with $38.2 million last January and February.
"Unfortunately," Dickson said, "many sellers are under the mistaken impression that the market is poor, so they are hesitant to put their homes on the market."
As a result, the number of homes available to buyers dropped to its lowest level in over two years, according to Dickson.
"We need more homes on the market to supply the buyer demand. ... Homes that are in good condition and priced well are selling."