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Realtors hope 2013 is a break-out year
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Saturday, March 09, 2013 5:00 AM
Median sales prices for homes in Jefferson County have gone up. In January 2012, the average sale price for a home was $90,000. This January it was $118,500, a 31.7 percent increase.
The last four years have been tough for Realtor David Jenkins. But he says it looks like things are starting to turn around.
The real estate broker owns his own business, Real Estate Inc., and was able to manage it through the housing market crash that started in 2008.
"I think it's been very difficult," Jenkins said. "It's been very difficult on everybody. In this business you talk to a wide range of people from diverse backgrounds, and everybody you talk to has been affected in some form or fashion."
At the time, according to the Indiana Association of Realtors (IAR), the median sales price for a home in Jefferson County was down 15 percent from the previous year.
However, since 2010, the housing market has been trending upward.
In January, The National Association of Realtors said sales of previously occupied homes rose to the second-highest level in three years.
The IAR stated in a press release that the average sales price for a home in Indiana has risen 5.7 percent from January 2012 to January 2013.
Kevin Kirkpatrick, president of the IAR, said in a release that 2012 finished stronger than the two previous years.
"Buyer demand is high right now and while interest rates are slowly moving higher, the affordability picture remains extremely attractive in Indiana," Kirkpatrick said.
Jefferson County is following suit.
According to a local market update provided by the IAR for January, new listings are down 22.9 percent while closed sales are up 38.5 percent from 2012.
Jessica Phillips, executive officer for the Jefferson County Board of Realtors, said that 2013 has the potential to be a good year for the local housing market.
She said sales have "been increasing every year since I've been here, since 2009. That was probably one of the worst years we had."
Median sales prices for the county have gone up as well. In January 2012, the average sale price for a home was $90,000. This January it was $118,500, a 31.7 percent increase.
That's welcome news for Jenkins and his business.
"Honestly, this is the busiest I've been in about four years for January and February," Jenkins said. "If it would continue, at least on a personal level, I would be able to start digging out of what the last four years have done to me."
Not only are homes selling more often, they're also selling faster. According to a real estate trends indicator from Homes Sold Report, a house in Jefferson County spent an average of 216 days on the market last year. So far this year, a house is averaging 157 days on the market - almost a two month difference.
Normally realtors would look for the market to start picking up after Spring break, Jenkins said.
Despite the market upswing, Jenkins said many people are still nervous when buying a new home. But he understands why people would be anxious.
"A lot better people than me have lost their homes, just because of things that were out of their control," Jenkins said. "There have been some really good people that lost homes. It's not all because people were not responsible. I've seen some really dreadful things. I can't imagine a more severe event in someone's life, especially if they have children, being told they have to move out of their home."
Jenkins said that while he is encouraged about the direction the county is headed, realtors have to still be able to adapt with the market.
"Market conditions will change and if you can't change with it, you're not going to last in this business," Jenkins said. "There's a huge difference between someone that does this full-time to put food on the table than someone who does this part-time."
He's also hopeful that the new King's Daughters' Hospital will bring new jobs to the area and with it, diversity. He said both will help the housing market in the long term.
"I think Jefferson County hopefully has weathered the storm," he said.
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