Last year was a banner year for Highland County realtors, and low interest rates combined with increased home sales make agents like Karen Davis of Donald E. Fender Realtors feel 2019 will be even better.
“It’s definitely a seller’s market because of the lack of homes for sale,” Davis told The Times-Gazette.” “But I will say, if you’ve got a property for sale that’s under $100,000, it’ll be sold quickly.”
She predicts that 2019 will be another good year for buyers and sellers, but feels things may slow down due to supply and demand, a sentiment shared by fellow agent Randy Butler of the Classic Real Estate Company.
“The thing we’re fighting right now is we have way more buyers than we do sellers,” he said. “And with interest rates still at all-time lows, this makes it both a seller’s and a buyer’s market.
Butler said the average sale price for a Highland County home is around $90,000, but he has seen many in the $200,000 to $300,000 price range selling to people from Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus who want to move to this area, but intend to keep their jobs and commute to the nearby cities.
He said the time frame for a property to be on the market averaged six months to a year just a few years ago, whereas today that same property may have a “for sale” sign in the yard for only 30 to 60 days, and for homes in the country, it may only be on the market a week or two.
Sue Boone, the owner of Sue Boone Realty, also described the atmosphere in real estate as a seller’s market and advised that “if anybody was considering a time to sell, now would be a great time to do it.”
“The price of what you can sell a home for has gone up,” she said. “In our area, we have a lot of manufactured houses and the price of what they’re going for has gone up tremendously from what they used to sell for.”
She predicted that properties with acreage will sell quickly as 2019 unfolds, with properties in the country continuing to be a hot commodity, especially those that have five acres or more.
“The economy has improved since everything crashed back in 2008,” she said, pointing out how much of a driving force it is in real estate. “With today’s interest rates, you can buy a house and in many cases the payment will be less than what people typically would pay to rent. I’ve seen some people getting 100 percent financing who don’t have really high credit scores. In fact, some of them are at 620 and some financial companies are advertising a 580 credit score.”
The old real estate adage “location-location-location” still is a big factor in a property selling, Davis said, but proper pricing and the concern over interest rates are a big influence as well.
She said that when she bought her first home in 1978, the interest rate was around 11 percent, while today it hovers around 5 percent, depending on the buyer’s credit record.
“If people are thinking they want to buy in the coming year,” she said, “they need to contact a lender and get a rate locked-in because I believe the rate will rise a little.”
Butler feels that interest rates would have to increase dramatically to short-circuit the present housing market, and he doesn’t believe the federal reserve will allow rates to skyrocket to where they were 20 to 30 years ago.
His advice to prospective sellers is if they decide to put their property up for sale, don’t wait to start packing since he feels it will sell quickly.
“I see real estate sales as being better this year,” he said. “There’s going to be nicer homes to pick from and people wanting to come to our area to live, and I think that a great sign for our local economy.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.