Housing market still in rough shape - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Housing market still in rough shape

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Several years after the housing market tanked, it still hasn't fully recovered. South Georgia wasn't hit as hard as many areas, but even here foreclosure rates jumped and property values have plummeted.

Brokers say the biggest problem these days is there are just too many houses to sell. The owner of First Thomasville Reality, Mills Herndon, says they currently have 551 listed properties in Thomas County. "That number has come down about 100 units in the last year so we have slowly, and that's a bit of good news, slowly been whittling away at some of our inventory."

On some streets, you can see a for sale sign in front of every other house. Some of those signs have been there for months. "Around seven or eight years ago we didn't have nearly as much inventory. Not near 551 houses on the market so there's a lot of competition. Sellers have a lot of competition," said Herndon.

Brokers commonly refer to this time as a buyer's market. Banks are now much stricter with loans so it's important to have good credit. "If you have good credit now is an excellent time to buy because you can take advantage of great rates and great prices," said Herndon.

Herndon says if sellers take the right approach, they could still come out on top. "They may take somewhat of a loss or take less than they wanted for their house, but if they're turning around and buying a property than chances are they'll be able to buy that property and make up that difference."

Herndon says about 10 percent of their business comes from foreclosures and short sales. "Foreclosures and those short sales are having an impact on our market. They're not driving our market like they are in some other areas."

Brokers say it can be tough telling sellers their homes have decreased in value. "If I were a seller and I had someone telling me hey based on you paid X for this house and now it's worth 20 percent less than that. That's sometimes a tough pill to swallow," said Herndon.

Herndon says he really doesn't know what to expect in the coming months, but based on recent sales he says there is reason for optimism.

Brokers in Thomasville say they are selling about the same number of units this year as last year, but the average sales price has come down to around $140K.

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