To some, the recovery of the real estate market seems to be happening at a snail’s pace.
Buyers and sellers alike are feeling the ill effects of the sluggish market. Buyers are finding it hard to obtain financing, and sellers are faced with plunging home prices.
According to the N.C. Association of Realtors website, the Triad area, which includes the more metropolitan areas of Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem as well as the Elkin area, showed a 2percent increase in home sales from 2010 to 2011. However, the average home price dropped by 3 percent from 2010 to 2011.
Agent Martha Swindell at Century 21 Hudspeth said that the current market in Elkin is definitely more active than it was before the first of 2012.
Don Clark with Century 21 Hudspeth commented that sales are better in Elkin in 2012 than 2011, but things are certainly not as good as they once were before the market crashed in late 2008.
Swindell commented that she has not seen much improvement in home prices, however.
“Sellers have had a bitter pill to swallow to see their property sell for less than what they paid for it or less than what they would have expected some years ago,” Swindell said.
Deborah Swift, an Elkin real estate agent, has been selling real estate in the area for over 28 years. Swift Real Estate Specialists, Inc. has been in business since 1961, pioneered by Swift’s father-in-law. Swift remembers a period of time in the early 1980s when interest rates went up to 18 and 19 percent.
Swift explains that the problem now not seen before in the industry is that buyers are having a hard time obtaining financing. Banks are much more stringent with borrowers than ever before, she said.
“Out of the offers presented in my office, we’re seeing nine out of every 10 people not be able to obtain financing in the end, even if they come forward with a letter of pre-qualification,” said Swift.
Swindell echoes Swift’s sentiment. She said that now is a great time to buy, but people are unable to get financing. Swindell noted that people who should have no problem qualifying for a loan are seeing some difficulty because banks are much stricter.
Having sold real estate in half of North Carolina, however, Swift emphasizes that the market in Elkin is one of the most stable markets in the state. Swift’s company specializes not only in traditional listings in Elkin, but also asset disposition, estates, and other types of real estate. Swift reports that sales are great in her company because of the variety of work that they do. She reports that as far as local traditional listings, the company has been successful in selling most of its inventory.
Swift credits the fairly stable market in Elkin to the quality of life here. She touts the natural beauty, low crime rate, and the advanced medical community as reasons the quality of life is top-notch.
“It is the fabric of life here that stabilizes our market,” Swift said.
Most agents tout Elkin as a “buyer’s market.” Agent Don Clark says that interest rates on a 30-year mortgage are in a lot cases less than four percent, a historically low rate.
Unfortunately for sellers, however, Swift says that they are finding that their real estate is not worth what they are willing to take for it.
“What they’re willing to take and what they can take are two different things according to their loan balance,” said Swift.
Swift also said that it is unfortunate that now it is commonplace to see foreclosures, when that did not used to be the case. She also commented that the hope is that sellers can maintain enough income and enough stability to wait long enough for a ‘just right’ offer to come along.
Although agents are reporting an increase in listings, the sentiment remains that things are improving, but very slowly. Despite low interest rates, foreclosures are somewhat commonplace and most buyers are experiencing difficulty in finding the necessary financing.
Reach Tara E. Moore at 835-1513 or email@example.com.