Home prices see biggest gains since 2006 - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Home prices see biggest gains since 2006

S. B.&T. Vice President Kim Colby S. B.&T. Vice President Kim Colby

Home prices in Albany jumped 19 percent in May over the previous year-- much more than the national average.

Because Albany is a small market, the Board of Realtors says three high-priced homes skewed the increase.

But realtors are seeing more sales and higher prices, indicating a strengthening economy.

 Realtors open house to show a new Northwest Albany home on the market.  Albany Board of Realtors officials say all their sales indicators are improving moderately including the number of sales.

Albany Board of Realtors Public Relations Chairman Danny Blackshear said "I think it's a combination of things.  I think the economy is getting better. I think consumer confidence is getting better."

In the Albany market in May 2012 the average home sale price was more than $122,000.  In May 2013 that average sale was more than $150,000 but three homes worth more than a half million dollars each inflated that percentage greatly. 

The number of sales increased from 73 to 86, and the number of days a home stayed on the market before selling fell from 209 to 162 days.

All good news, but it's still a buyer's market. Realtor Patsy Martin said "The market, as far as the general sales, they are still happening.  It's just still being driven by the buyer and the prices."

Mortgage rate increases in June have actually prompted more business for lenders, with people wanting to go ahead and buy before rates increase more.

S. B.&T. Vice President Kim Colby said "Yes, its making them want to go ahead and let me go ahead and put an application in, let me lock in a rate, and buy."

Realtors say they think more people who gave up on selling their home three or four years ago will put them back on the market now.

Blackshear said "That tells me there may be some confidence out there that people are saying, well you know I think now is the time to put my house on the market. I think I can sell it now."

Even though prices have increased, realtors say buyers are still dictating the price they are willing to pay. 

Realtors say home sales are still nowhere close to the mid-2000 boom years, but after so many years of bad news, any good news is welcome. 

The Standard and Poor's home price national index says home prices jumped 12% in May, the highest monthly gain since 2006.

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