Real estate uptick is good news

Buyers can still find good deals
Jan 22, 2013

The year-end report from the Haywood County Board of Realtors contained good news — sales were up 36 percent in 2012.

While the market isn’t where it once was, the movement is significant considering the painful journey over the past four years.

When the nation’s housing market plummeted in 2008 as a result of lending and mortgage practices that had become the norm, Haywood’s market followed suit. Foreclosure levels reached near-record highs, and the number of properties on the market offered buyers real deals — if they could get financing.

During the past four years, the majority of the homes sold were at the lower end of the market, with 67 percent of the 2012 sales from homes priced at below $200,000.

The number of home sales was practically flat between 2009 and 2011, so when sales jumped from 531 to 722 in Haywood County, it was significant movement. Equally as significant was the jump in sales volume, from below $100 million to nearly $135 million.

Those in the real estate business are particularly encouraged with the statistics showing a reduction in the housing inventory. An ideal market, said Haywood County Board of Realtors President Brian Cagle, is one where listed properties can be sold in six months.

In just one year, the number of properties on the market dropped from 1,133 to 898, which reduced the nearly 26-month inventory level to 15 months.

The inventory level, as well as the figures showing the average sales price dropped from about $198,000 in 2009 to $182,000 in 2012, a sign there are still some bargains available to buyers.

For about three decades, population in Haywood County grew so quickly that construction and real estate were among the top industries. The new economic reality brought that to a screeching halt. Construction levels are still depressed, but hopefully the recovering real estate market is a signal that a building industry uptick will soon follow.

Meanwhile, those looking for a place to live in the county still have time to find their dream home at an affordable price.