Home sales spike nearly 20 percent

Published on Thursday, 12 December 2013 22:36 - Written by By Faith Harper fharper@tylerpaper.com

Tyler-area home sales spiked 20 percent over the same month in 2012, according to Greater Tyler Association of Realtors figures.

About 253 homes were sold in November, compared to 210 in 2012. Year to date sales are also up 15.79 percent, with a total of 3,424 homes sold in 2013 compared to 2,957 last year for January through November.

The average price is up just over $8,000, or 5.10 percent. The average home sold in November for $168,315 compared to $160,155 in 2012.

“We are really busy,” said Pamela Walters, owner and broker at Pamela Walters Realty Group, and member of GTAR. “We are so much busier than we were last year that it’s a little frightening, but it so very exciting, and it’s good news for sellers.”

Ms. Walters said homes are selling in all price ranges, and for the first time since the Great Recession hit in 2008, homes that are not in perfect condition are selling.

The selling price of homes is going up, but are not quite up to what the homes are really worth, she said.

“Prices still aren’t where they need to be, but they will get back there if we keep going at this rate,” Ms. Walters said. “I want sellers to get what their house is worth and it’s going to happen — we are getting there.”

Carlton Edwards, owner of Carton Edwards Builder & designer LLC and president of the Tyler-Area Builders Association, said a decrease in the number of homes on the market also contributed to the higher selling prices.

“I think what’s happening is supply (and) demand,” he said. “The listings are down. There is less inventory, and that helped with prices coming up. … When the market is flooded, prices come down.”

The active number of homes on the market is down 4.56 percent, from 2,830 homes in 2012 to 2,701 in 2013, according to GTAR.

“It makes Realtors have to work harder to get listings, and that’s always a good thing,” Ms. Walters said. “Buyers … learn that all Realtors are different. It makes a huge difference who you list with.”

Both Edwards and Ms. Walters are optimistic for 2014.

“We are looking at (starting construction on) four new (homes) in the next 20 days,” Edwards said. “That will get us off to a real good 2014 because … if we are going into the year with two new starts, it’s a good year and we have four new starts.”

Edwards said he thinks the consumer confidence is finally coming up following the 2008 recession.

“I believe the comfort level with folks and the economy has improved,” he said. “There were people holding back on moving forward. … And they are in a place with the economy that for whatever reason they are feeling more comfortable moving forward.”