The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

July 12, 2013

Realtors report strong summer

Home sales in Athens and Limestone County increased 14.7 percent in June compared to the same period last year, according to a report released this week from the Alabama Center for Real Estate.

The Tuscaloosa-area group also reported sales improved 4 percent compared to the prior month. However, year-to-date through June, closed transactions are at 4.8 percent below last year’s pace.

Wanda Gunter, president of the Athens-Limestone Association of Realtors, said she and other Realtors noticed an increase in sales last month. She credited recent sales to a gradual increase in the mortgage-lending rate. The rate is now in flux between 4 and 4.5 percent.

“(Interest rates) had been as low as 2 percent,” Gunter said. “(The increase) may cause some people to get off the fence (and buy).”

According to ACRE, the Athens-Limestone housing inventory totaled 813 units, an increase of 1.6 percent from June 2012. The group said the June inventory increased by 1.4 percent from the prior month.

Realtor Marie Eubanks said all her listings but one have sold, and added she was in need of new property listings. She described the first six months of 2013 as one of her most productive years in terms of sales.

Home sales typically decline in the late summer and early fall months. However, Eubanks said September could be a positive month because it will mark the end of the federally mandated sequestration cuts that have affected workers at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville.

“A lot of the buyers I have just lost 20 percent of their income, so they won’t buy anything,” Eubanks said.

When asked what types of properties were selling, she said pre-existing homes are selling just as much or more as new construction. She added buyers are “living more within their budget” and find pre-existing homes more affordable. Older buyers, however, are more interested in new construction because of fewer maintenance and repair issues.

The increase in home sales over 2012 echoes a trend in national economic numbers.  The Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 surged to all-time highs Thursday. And the yield on the 10-year Treasury note continued to decline as investors bought bonds.

Stocks that benefit most from a continuation of low interest rates, such as homebuilders, notched some of the biggest gains. D.R. Horton rose $1.93, or 9.2 percent, to $22.98 and Lennar Group climbed $2.88, or 8.3 percent, to $37.44.

The housing market has benefited from low interest rates because they help make mortgages cheaper.

“The Bernanke qualifications have taken the interest rate risk off the table and now it’s really about what will earnings say,” said Jonathan Lewis, chief investment officer at Samson Capital Advisors.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

1
Text Only
Local News
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee