The local housing market is surviving a bumpy ride and is showing signs of improvement, real estate broker Merle Kennedy told chamber of commerce members at a Thursday luncheon last week.
Kennedy said that the housing market last year looked bleak but with a number of sales late in the year, 2012 nearly matched the value of homes sold the year before.
Before the international financial crisis, home sales through Foisy & Kennedy in 2007 totalled over $8 million, with 75 units sold. In 2011 sales totaled $6,638,600 and home sales came to $6,228,580 in 2012.
In each of those years, his firm handled the sale of 58 homes.
Home sales for the area in 2012, Kennedy said, were 18 in Coulee Dam, 17 in Electric City, 20 in Grand Coulee and Grant and Lincoln Counties, and three in Elmer City and Okanogan County.
Kennedy said while lenders are “cautious,” loans are still being made. Low interest rates of 2.5 percent on a 15-year loan and 3 percent on a 30-year fixed rate make it attractive to purchase a home now or take out an equity loan, he said.
He said he is often asked, “how much is my home worth?” His answer: “As much as you can sell it for.”
Recent assessments of property values in Grant County show a drop in value, “but it will mean less taxes,” Kennedy noted. One homeowner in Electric City said the new assessment showed a drop of about 10 percent in value.
Kennedy said getting a loan today is somewhat “challenging” and may require “patience.”
He also stated that rentals in the area are scarce, and that his firm currently lists about 45 homes for sale in the area.
Steve Becker of Coulee Medical Center will present the program for the chamber’s next meeting, Jan. 31.