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Housing numbers get worse nationally; CSRA not immune

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The CSRA hasn't been immune to a nationwide housing slump. (May 31, 2011 / WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6'clock / Tuesday May 31, 2011

EVANS, Ga.---For sale signs are staying up longer these days and new numbers in our area show, they might not be coming down anytime soon. But...it's not all bad news for some as prices are at the lowest levels since the housing bubble burst in 2006.

"It's trying at times because you see other homes in the area that are selling and it makes you wonder...why is my house not selling?" Asks Matthew Hunter, a Grovetown man trying to sell his home.

Hunter is not the only one having trouble. The nationwide housing index fell for the eighth month in a row. Experts say the record number of foreclosures, too many unsold homes, and people's reluctance to buy are all factors in the low prices. They expect prices to keep falling throughout the year.

And the picture isn't pretty here in the CSRA either. Local numbers show fewer homes are selling this year compared with 2010.

Realtors believe our area may be better than most cities, but we're still not immune to the housing crisis. There are thousands and thousands of homes for sale right now in the CSRA, some realtors expect our housing market to get worse before it gets better.

"And this is the master bedroom here," shows Hunter. He has been trying to sell his house for about a year and half. "I'll show the house to whoever wants to come see it."

He says the housing market has not been real friendly.

"I've talked to different realtors, had open houses, and nobody can tell me why my house won't sell...it's just the way the market is," explains Hunter.

So far this year, the numbers are down. 1,696 homes have been sold in the CSRA, but at this time last year 2,136 had been bought.

"So you see the housing market has slowed down and that's existing, new homes in the CSRA. That's a concern. That's a concern," adds Doug Reese, the Vice President of Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate.

"I think now people are going to build in the summer and get their families moved in before the school year starts, so I think in comparison to last year we are really going to see a spike in June and July rather then April and May," adds Meybohm real estate agent Amy Eakin.

But both realtors agree, we've kept our head above water much better than other areas.

"Really Augusta is doing fantastic in comparison to other big cities. We are close to SRS, Plant Vogtle, Fort Gordon I think all of those businesses are helping the real estate market," explains Eakin.

"Our area is better off than other parts of the country but we're suffering also," says Reese.

New homes on the other hand, are selling just about as quick as they can be built in Columbia County. Permits for new homes so far this year are just barely below last year's numbers. Year to date in 2010 there were 512 filed through May, but this year they've processed 488.

A walk in closet over here and a huge, almost like a double bathroom here," shows Hunter. He just hopes things bounce back, so he can move out.

The National Association of Realtors considers homes on the market for six months to be a balanced market, but the numbers show most homes here are averaging more than a year, about 13 months on the market.

Realtors say have patience. They say homes priced competitively are selling, otherwise it may take time. On the other side of the coin...it's a great time to buy.


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