Home sales slow, but homes still can be sold

PLATTSBURGH Clinton County has long been known for its relative economic stability and the real estate sales trends for the first nine months of 2007 appear to re-enforce this reputation. While existing single-family home sales numbers have declined, median sales prices increased moderately. Sales are down, but theyre not frozen," commented Clinton County Board of Realtors president Stephen Tahy. "Weve seen a slow, steady growth of our market place. Total existing single-family home sales for 2007 declined by 17.8 percent compared to the same period in 2006 and by 13 percent, compared to 2005. Statewide, 2007 January-September unit sales totals declined by 7.9 percent compared to last year and by 11.9 percent, compared to 2005. Clinton Countys 2007 median January-September sales price of $124,000 was 2.5 percent higher than the comparable period in 2006 and 6.9 percent higher than the comparable period in 2005. Statewide, 2007 median sales prices declined by 3.1 percent compared to 2005. Mr. Tahy compared the countys historical unit sales and price trends to climbing up stairs step by step as opposed to jumping up stairs. "We probably have a higher home inventory than weve had for a couple of years, he said. Mr. Tahy noted sales to first-time home buyers have remained strong. These homes are typically in the $90,000 to $150,000 price range. He believes homes in higher price ranges are taking a longer time to sell. When asked what his advice would be to someone in the market to purchase a home he responded, They probably can take a bit more time. They have the time to make a good educated judgment on what they want to buy. In most instances, this is not a period in time when a buyer must make a quick offer so they dont lose a home to another buyer. Mr. Tahys advice for anyone selling a home is very simple. Its more important than ever to price the property where its going to sell, he said. In recent years, mortgage companies have become a major source of new home financing. Lake City Mortgage office manager Travis Carter agreed the first time home buyer market is still strong. He also said Clinton Countys relatively high number of government jobs contributes to a relatively stable real estate market. Mr. Carter mentioned the Department of Homeland Securitys growing presence in the region and said companies such as Bombardier and Georgia Pacific also often have employees moving in and out of the area. I think prices have come down a little," Mr. Carter said, assessing the most recent real estate statistics. "Its a good time to buy if its a long-term investment. Mr. Carter said current fixed mortgage interest rates are attractive. As of Nov. 27, the 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate was 6 percent and 20-year fixed mortgage interest rate was 5.875 percent.

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