Houston-area homeowners get good news

April 22, 2009 3:50:47 PM PDT
If you are looking to sell your home, you know the market has been slowing for the last seven months. While the slide continued in March, Realtors say there is reason for optimism. This might be the beginning of a housing market turn around or just a seasonal blip in sales, but either way, if you are looking to sell a home the numbers are encouraging.

It's not hard to find homes for sale in the Mission Bend subdivision. Chris Gant says his neighbor did a massive overhaul on to his house across the street, but the improvements did not generate foot traffic and after six months there were no buyers.

"He just pulled the sign up and said I will just wait until it gets better," Gant told us.

While Gant's neighbor still is looking to sell, another nearby home did find a buyer recently.

Across our area, single family home sales in March were down 16% from the same time a year ago. But there is a ray of hope. In March sales were up nearly 28% when compared to February of this year and the median price inched up to $145,000. The good news is not surprising to Realtors who always see increased sales in the spring.

"It is a little bit of a normal cycle in the industry," said Margie Dorrace of the Houston Association of Realtors. "People do buy more in the spring and summer and we hope that when we get to the fall we will still be going upward."

Dorrance is the incoming chair of HAR. She knows the sales figures are not where Realtors and sellers want them to be, but the uptick from February to March is an encouraging sign.

"Interest rates are 4.5, fifty year lows," Dorrance told us. "We are also seeing the impact from the $8,000 tax credit to first time home buyers and we think first time buyers are beginning to fuel some of this."

Dorrance says now is the time for sellers to make sure their homes are free from defects and priced right. For buyers, the month to month increase means if you find a good deal, grab it. It'll make your new neighbors happy too.

"It's not good to have empty homes," Gant told us.

We spoke with a man who has been trying to sell his home for about a year. He tells us he gets plenty of foot traffic, but few buyers qualify to get a loan. Realtors tell us if you have credit issues it will be difficult to get a mortgage.

Speaking of credit, make sure your report is clean. It is extremely important to make sure there are no errors counting against you and we're told lenders are also looking at job history as a factor in loans so keep that in mind too.

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