Athens Review, Athens, Texas

February 15, 2013

On the mend

Officials say area real estate market is improving

Kathi Nailling
The Athens Review

Athens — If your following the real estate market, 2012 was a good year. According to  The National Association of Realtors, 2012 was the best year for the U.S. Real Estate market in seven years. 

Lawrence Yun,  NAR chief economist, said all the conditions for strong price growth are at play.

"Home sales are on a sustained uptrend. Mortgage interest rates are hovering near record lows, and unsold inventory is at the lowest level in 12 years," he said. "Home sales are being fueled by a pent-up demand and job creation, along with still favorable affordability conditions and rents rising at faster rates. Our population has been growing faster than overall housing stock, so supply and demand dynamics are very much at play."

Henderson County appears to be following the national trend. Angie Tuley, President of the Henderson County Board of Realtors, said, “The new year is here, and it appears our local area has weathered the storm of uncertainty, and is well on it's way to returning to a vibrant and more predictable real estate market.”

January is normally a slow month for real estate sales. If January is any indication,  2013 will be a very good year for local realtors.

Tuley said, “From 2012 to 2013, there was a jump of total production sold Jan. 1 to Jan. 30 of 89.29 percent.

“A major factor that will weigh heavily on the rebound is the current fabulous interest rates, which are near or at historic lows, not to mention a credit score of 580 for FHA loans is available,” Tuley said.

 She said, “As we know, trends are hard to predict. However, it is my belief that our local real-estate market is showing the right signs of continued rebound.”

Steve Grant, who has been selling real estate in Athens for over 30 years, says, “I see the sign of improvement. (The year) 2012 was better than 2011, and 2013 looks like it is going to be even better. I am gearing up with new marketing efforts.”

Grant said “The mortgage rates are as low as I have seen them. Rates are 3 percent to 4 percent. I don't believe in my lifetime I will ever see them this low again.”

Grant said the Multiple Listing Services have been carrying about a year’s worth of inventory.  That inventory is now down to six or seven months. According to Grant, this is an another indication of the market improving.

Athens Century 21 owner Becky Anding said, “We have seen our sales increase recently. There is a lot of property in Henderson County that are good buys for investors. We are confident that we are in the midst of a housing recovery.”

 With the market on the uprise, many consumers will consider becoming homeowners this year. So, be prepared for the mortgage application process. You will only get the mortgage you are requesting, if your credit is in shape. If you are carrying around bad credit, you risk not qualifying for a home loan, or may pay a higher interest rate.

Anding cited some of the easiest loans.

“There are some really good loans available, such as USDA or VA loans,” she said.

The USDA Loans are designed for the buyer who doesn't have a lot of money to put down, or to pay closing cost.