Triangle real estate woes

July 21, 2008 6:35:21 PM PDT
Summer is usually the season when home sales start to pick up in the Triangle. That's not the case so far this year.The real estate numbers are in for June and they're not encouraging for anyone trying to sell their home right now.

Last fall, Debbie Wallock was already frustrated.

She could not re-sell her home in a new sub-division of south-west Durham.

"It's been excruciatingly difficult," Wallock said.

Nine months later, Wallock still has the for sale sign on the front lawn. And now overall homes sales across the Triangle have since fallen off a cliff.

Sales last month were down 37 percent from June of last year.

At the same time, the number of listings, the supply of homes for sale, is up by a third.

"That's a pretty big drop. But I think it's important to look at it by a neighborhood by neighborhood basis," realtor Linda Grissom said.

Some neighborhoods, especially in Orange County are faring better. But home sales in Durham and Johnston Counties are down by more than 40 percent.

Some homes which are lingering on the market are in great shape in well established neighborhoods, but they are sometimes competing with brand new construction, in brand new sub-divisions, which are sometimes just blocks away.

"Right now people are looking for the pretty pennies. And they are looking for bargains. And people feel they can be picky. The housing market has changed," Grissom said.

In a buyer's market, some realtors say sellers need to pay for their own home inspections.

"Find all the problems before the buyers do. Get them fixed. Don't let a repair issue be a deal breaker,"Grissom said. Wallock says buyers have said no to her house because her drive-way is too steep. Her house has now been on the market for a year and a half.

"I think you could be getting the deal of the century," Wallock said.


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