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Rock County seeing pick up in home sales

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JAMES P. LEUTE
August 12, 2010
— Second quarter sales of existing Rock County homes outpaced the state and nation, but average prices still showed signs of a local housing market dominated by activity on its lower end.

The Wisconsin Realtors Association on Wednesday reported 612 sales for Rock County, up 33 percent from the comparable second quarter of last year and nearly double those posted in the first quarter of this year.


The average sales price, however, was $113,600, a drop of more than $8,000 from the sales posted in the second quarter of 2009.


Paula Carrier, president of Best Realty of Edgerton and president of the Rock-Green Realtors Association, said she's pleased with the increase in sales.


The drop in price, she said, is the result of a combination of a large number of foreclosure sales and first-time homebuyers who took advantage of federal tax credits by the June 30 deadline.


Foreclosure sales, she said, dropped the average prices and some properties were sold for 50 percent of their value.


And first-time buyers are typically entering the market in the lower price ranges, she said.


"First-time buyers found that they could buy cheaper than they could rent, especially with the tax credits," Carrier said. "That and the foreclosures really kept most of the activity for the quarter to the lower price range.


"There just wasn't that much activity on the higher end, where I think the local economy was more of a concern for that circle of buyers."


Carrier said the average property spent 108 days on the market, which she said is a reasonable amount of time. Higher priced homes tended to linger for about a month longer, while those on the lower end tended to move about 30 days earlier.


This summer's sales have been relatively slow, she said, adding that the summer slowdown is an annual phenomenon as people find other things to do.


"I expect it will pick up again later this quarter, primarily because interest rates are so favorable," she said.


"We also need to see a slowdown in the foreclosure market, because until those are sold, there's a negative impact on the rest of the market. And, of course, we need to see some improvement in the local job situation."


Nationally, existing home sales rose 17.3 percent in the second quarter as compared to the same quarter last year. Wisconsin sales were up 19.4 percent for the same period.



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