Spring is typically the busiest time of the year for the real estate industry.
However, local Realtors said the spring of 2011 wasn't quite as good as they expected.
"It is fair to say it is busier than it was at this time last year. It is not at its peak. I see improvement this spring compared to last spring. I do see more activity, but there is still room to grow," said owner/broker Robert F. Pennington of Coldwell Banker Town & Country Real Estate, Altoona.
Mirror photo illustration by J.D. Cavrich and Tom Worthington II
John Stultz, owner/broker of Stultz Real Estate, Hollidaysburg, talks with a client about a home for sale at 1009 Penn St. in Hollidaysburg on Wednesday.
"It has been encouraging, but it is still spotty. It hasn't got worse. But can you say it is vastly improved? I cannot," said Matt Evey, broker/owner of Exit Realty John Hill, Altoona.
John Stultz, owner/broker of Stultz Real Estate, Hollidaysburg, said sales
did not increase as much as he had
Kathy Chabala, co-owner/broker of ReMax Results Realty Group, Altoona, is hoping for a scenario similar to last year.
"It was a much slower start than what we envisioned. The same thing
happened last year, and then we ended really strong. There was a lot of activity last week. That is not typical for the Fourth of July week," Chabala said.
Realtors have similar opinions on why they haven't been busier.
"People are sitting back. They are satisfied with what they got, [and] a lot are afraid to make a move," said Richard Johnston, broker/owner of Howard Hanna Johnston Realty, Altoona. "We are busy now. It has been an active market but not a good market."
"I think it is based on the bad economic news heard on the national basis," Stultz said. "Mortgage interest rates are still under 5 percent, and there are a lot of good homes on the market. People are not in the market, so to speak."
It is hard to get a handle on what is happening, Chabala said.
"There are a lot of buyers and sellers. It is all about financing, and it is harder for people to get a loan," she said. "We hope it turns out like last year, and we finish strong. But hope versus reality, I don't know the answer to that."
If a home is priced correctly, it will sell, Pennington said.
"The two keys are pricing the home realistically and consumer confidence," he said. "The homes we have, if the seller prices it realistically, we have activity. Anything will sell, if it is priced right."
The homes that are selling are in the $80,000 to $200,000 range.
"The upper echelon, $500,000 and above, is a dead market," Stultz said. "There is nothing happening there."
He believes it is a buyer's market.
"If there is a qualified buyer out there, there are a number of homes in any price range," Stultz said. "If they are qualified, they could negotiate a pretty good deal."
Others aren't sure if either the buyer or seller has an advantage, but Evey said it is a good time to buy.
"It is a stable market; the interest rates are very low," he said. "If you are a buyer, it is a sweet time right now - the rates are phenomenal. In the high-price range, it is a buyer's market. If the home is priced right and in the right location, you can get multiple offers."
Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.