Will Raleigh growth continue?

RALEIGH Now home to some 1.1 million people, the metro area - which includes Johnson and Franklin Counties - grew by 4.3 percent last year. But with the economy slowing down, will the future be as bright?

Realtor Tom Fanjoy has spent his whole career selling homes in Wake County.

"I've been in business about 16 years and this is by far the scariest time. When everything just stops, that's scary," he told Eyewitness News.

With nine listings, some on the market for a year, he's taking advantage of his down time. We found him raking the yard of a new listing in northwest Raleigh he's trying to sell. He's not waiting for his client to increase the curb appeal in the worst real estate market he can remember.

"That's why I'm out here today - trying to help a homeowner put his best foot forward," he said.

Fanjoy's seen a lot of other realtors leave the business this year, but like others who have stuck it out, he's an optimist.

Thursday on Good Morning America, he heard the best news he's heard in many months - that our growth topped the nation last year and that the Fed plans to make some moves on mortgages.

"The government is finally deciding to do what we realtors and builders have thought they should do for years. And that was to subsidize the interest rates on mortgages," he explained.

Fanjoy hopes that will finally get buyers off the fence, release pent-up demand, and clear out the oversupply of homes on the market. He believes more newcomers to the area will help the local housing market too. That's because he thinks Raleigh-Cary will again be at or near the top of the national growth meter in 2009.

"I would expect the things that have made this area good all these years will continue," he said.

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