The local real estate market may be making a rebound.
Local experts say home sales in Hall County have been steadily increasing since 2008.
“I see people all the time that say ‘How is the market? Is it still bad?’ The public doesn’t realize how busy the Realtors have been,” said Sherry Myers, president of the Hall County Board of Realtors.
The number of sales in Hall County increased 28.8 percent in 2011, according to that board.
Brad Abernathy, associate broker with The Norton Agency and a member of the Abernathy Cochran Real Estate Group, said the news comes as no surprise.
“With all the attractions here in Hall County and all the jobs that are close by, we’re in a great spot,” Abernathy said.
When compared with the January-to-April period in 2011, home sales have increased this year by 81.
Myers said the increased sales may be in response to lower interest rates and investors looking to take advantage of the market while it still favors buyers.
“I think there were a lot of investors on the sidelines waiting until we hit the bottom,” Myers said. “I think they got to that point where they were like, ‘Well if I’m going to buy, I’d better jump in,’ and I think a lot of people followed suit.”
While buyers may still have an advantage, some sellers aren’t in a bad position either.
“There are some micromarkets that are starting to be seller’s markets or will transform into seller’s markets this year,” Abernathy said.
Myers explained sellers may have to be more aggressive, but they won’t have to sell for as low as they might have thought.
In January, the average price dropped 13.3 percent, to $133,212 from $154,265 in 2011. In April, the average sales price was $146,273, down only 1.1 percent over the year before.
According to Georgia Multiple Listings Service, Hall County currently has a little more than 1,000 active listings. There were 1,672 listings in May of 2011.
“We have less inventory, so people have less to choose from than last year,” Myers said. “When you have less inventory, that’s going to help drive our prices up.”
Abernathy said Hall County has about a six-month supply on the market to meet demand.
“The supply of homes (is) getting lower and lower, and that’s a great sign for the seller that’s trying to sell because they’re not having to compete with foreclosures and new home construction like they were,” Abernathy said.
Foreclosure rates seem somewhat steady with only two more in the first quarter, compared to last year.
Myers said the next few months could be very telling of how the industry is doing overall.
“May through July are the strongest months,” she said. “So it’ll be real interesting to see what those numbers are like.”