Housing market shows positive signs

The housing market in Central Virginia showed signs of improvement during the third quarter of the year, according to the Richmond Association of Realtors.

Home sales in the region rose 23 percent from the same period in 2010, and pending sales (a strong indicator of final sales) were up 11 percent as compared to the third quarter of 2010.

“The fact that the housing market in 2011 has outperformed the 2010 housing market through the first nine months of the year is amazing, considering that buyers had the inducement of a tax credit to spur their decision making last year and no such inducement exists this year,” said Cheryl Hamm, president of the Richmond Association of Realtors and Central Virginia Regional MLS. “Of course, sales prices continue to lag, but we've known all along that sale price would be the last indicator to turn around."

The main factors dampening the resurgence of home prices are the foreclosure inventory and the economic uncertainty of buyers and sellers, Hamm said.

“The continued presence of foreclosures in the market makes it difficult for sale prices to rebound when the region is viewed as a whole,” she said. “We are seeing some modest price increases in certain neighborhoods; we've even seen some multiple offer situations. In many instances, whether a home is selling and for what price is dependent upon the factors that have always been most important – location, the condition of the home, and the sale price.”

As major banks have resumed with processing foreclosures, an initial foreclosure uptick may be in store, but in the long run this will help promote the movement of foreclosure inventory.

"If positive economic indicators continue to show promise, consumer confidence should also improve, Hamm said.

“Can I predict what the fourth quarter will look like or how 2012 will shake out? No. The fourth quarter is typically seasonally slow, so I would not be surprised if that held true for this year as well," she said. "As for 2012, there are just too many variables abroad and here in the U.S. for me to make a prediction."
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Henrico County Recreation and Parks will present “Red, White, and Lights” at Meadow Farm Museum/Crump Park July 4.

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