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Experts cautious despite big jump in area home sales

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Home sale numbers in the Cape Fear are up more than ten percent in the last year. And while that may be good news, some realty experts say it’s too early to celebrate.

Jon Bisnette recently moved to Wilmington from Charlotte. He’s one of many people recently taking the plunge and buying a home.

“We needed a new home, so with the lower mortgage rates and the lower housing prices it’s just a good time to buy,” Bisnette said.

August home sale numbers in Wilmington show a 10.5 percent increase compared to last year. Realtors say while there was an increase, there are certain things to look at before celebrating the jump in sales.

“I think you have to be careful comparing this year to last year. It’s not an apples to apples comparison,” said Ashley Garner, president of the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors. “The reason I think that, last year we had the effect of the first time home buyers tax credit.”

Garner says last year’s numbers could have been lower because everyone who was looking to buy a home, bought early to get the tax credit.

“Because they bought in the first half, they were not there to buy in the second half, so sales were possibly artificially low in the second half of last year,” he said.

Garner says there are other things to look at when trying to compare home sale numbers. For one, realtors see a seasonal drop, especially here in the Cape Fear.

Garner says there is some good news. Interest rates are low, and the real estate market gives buyers a lot of options, but even with those ingredients, there is a major one missing.

“Right now people are not eager to spend that money,” Garner said. “Until we get the consumer confidence back we’re going to be missing the key ingredient.”

Garner predicts the housing market numbers will not get much lower than what they currently are, but he also predicts a slow recovery.

More: continued here

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