Tuesday, July 28 2009
Evansville residents in the housing sector are as optimistic about their future as their colleagues on the national stage.
An announcement on Monday by the Commerce Department of an increase in new home sales during June was seen as a positive sign the real estate market is bouncing back.
The Commerce Department reported new home sales in the United States rose 11 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000 from an upwardly revised May rate of 346,000.
It was the strongest sales pace since November 2008 and exceeded the forecasts of economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters, who expected a pace of 360,000 units.
The last time sales rose so dramatically was in December 2000.
This home-buying excess has been building for a while, said Chris Dickson, secretary and treasurer of the Evansville Area Association of Realtors.
"There's been a lot of pent-up demand over the spring; people have been holding off to buy. That demand is coming through," Dickson said.
National sales have risen for three straight months. The median sales price of $206,200, however, was down 12 percent from $234,300 a year earlier and down nearly 6 percent from $219,000 in May.
Things have been better in local counties than the national statistics.
Vanderburgh County had 214 new and existing sales in June, with an average sales price of $117,700. This represents a 4 percent increase from June 2008 in both units sold and average sales price.
Vanderburgh County has seen the real estate market increase every month since January, said Bob Reid with Appraisal Consultants.
Warrick County had 68 new and existing home sales in June for an average sales price of $163,900.
The report is seen as another encouraging sign that the beleaguered housing sector finally is coming back to life.
On Thursday, the National Association of Realtors reported that home resales posted a monthly increase of 3.6 percent in June.
Dickson said there are several lures for homeowners now, including first-time buyer incentives, $8,000 federal tax credit, incentives for buying foreclosed properties and low mortgage rates.
Dickson says this home-buying will help the economy.
"This is a very good time for sellers to get back into the market because there are buyers who want to buy.
"We've been through the valley, and we're coming out the other side."
Ray Simmons, sports information director at the University of Southern Indiana, recently sold his home and is having a new one built on Evansville's East Side.
He said his Realtor estimated it would take 60 days to sell his home, which was how long it took.
"She said she'd be able to get it sold," he said.
n The Associated Press contributed to this report.