Real estate agents deal with housing slump - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Real estate agents deal with housing slump

August 27, 2007

Albany--  This could end up being the worst year for existing home sales in five years and that could end up dragging down the whole economy. As the housing market slumps, foreclosures are way up. Georgia has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation and some real estate agents are having a hard time getting people into homes.

For the past 18 years, people looking for a new home simply called real estate agent Edgar McConnell for help.

"It's been good," said McConnell.

Nowadays, things are different. "I have not had a good year," said McConnell.

It's been a slow change. Calls have been reduced and fewer homes have been sold. "We have a lot of houses on the market," said McConnell. 

On one street in Albany, we found three For Sale signs within a few feet of the other. They've all been up for a while.

"It's been slow. You don't get calls. It just seems like there isn't any interest in houses like it used to be," said McConnell.

The National Association of Realtors reports home sales went down slightly last month by 0.2 percent. Some realtors and sellers are now forced to reduce prices to lure buyers. Even then, some houses are staying on the market for months.

"It'll sell within 30 days most of the time," said McConnell.

McConnell blames the slower sales on a volatile stock market, higher interest rates, and changes in the economy. "And people losing their jobs. I think that's what caused the letdown here," said McConnell.

But McConnell says there's talk in the real estate world that things may pick up next year. "I hope they're right. I'd like to see it pick up before then," said McConnell.

Until then, he'll be working hard to change these signs from For Sale to Sold.

There's also a fear that this housing slump will lead to a recession. If that happens, construction jobs could be cut across the United States. So far the problem hasn't been as significant in the South as other parts of the country. The area with the largest fall in sales is the Midwest.  

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