New home sales improve in SW Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New home sales improve in SW Georgia

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  New home sales in southwest Georgia are following the national trend and are up.  Nationwide sales were up in October by six percent.

 Southwest Georgia contractors say they've been selling too, allowing them to hire more workers. Jack Daniel Garrett Construction Company is already talking with potential buyers for a house though it's far from done.

Four builders have sold six homes in the Wisteria Estates Subdivision off Lovers Lane in the last month. They say sales are up because of the extension of the tax credit.

New home sales in Lee County seem to be cutting through the red tape that brought sales to a standstill earlier this year. After renting for nearly 12 years, David Tuggle finally decided to buy because of the $8,000 tax credit for first time buyers.

"That kindly put a fire under me big time. I knew I was going to have to get out and find me a house because I couldn't continue to rent," said David Tuggle, a new homeowner.

Contractors say lower interest rates near 4.8 percent have also helped. While sales aren't what they were two years ago, the slowdown has changed the way many contractors are doing business.

"They're building one spec. home at a time instead of having five or six spec homes. When they sell that one they start another one," said Jack Daniel Garrett, Home Builders Association of Albany and Southwest Georgia President.

That's helped to control what is available and get them sold. New sales have allowed some contractors to add jobs.

"I've picked up a couple of extra guys that are really talented that were working with other construction companies and it's really helped my quality," said Garrett.

Many contractors have also cut their prices giving new home buyers a better deal a square foot on a new home. For those who have bought, they encourage others considering a purchase to take a serious look at the market.

"I'm very pleased with the house. I'm still getting settled in," said Tuggle.

Tuggle encourages others not to overlook the possibility of a new home. Jack Daniel Garrett also explained contractors are throwing in upgrades as an incentive to buy a new home and will on some occasions help with some of the closing costs to get the deal done.

The median sales price of new homes sold in Lee County in October was between $120,000 and $145,000. Nationwide existing home sales still dominate the market and were up 23.5 percent from a year earlier.


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