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Homes Sales Up, Prices Down In Region

After a rough 2008, home sales are picking up in 2009.  That was the sentiment at the Southern Piedmont Land and Lake Board, a trade group of realtors from Halifax and western Mecklenburg counties, meeting Wednesday in South Boston.

According to figures from the Virginia Association of Realtors, during the third quarter of 2008 there were 62 properties sold compared to 84 in the third quarter of 2009 for a 35.5 percent increase.
However, the median sales price fell 7.4 percent from $129,702 to $120,146, the figures showed.

Lisa Noon, vice president for member outreach of VAR, said that home sales in Virginia are coming back up and have been increasing statewide for three consecutive quarters.

She also noted that the number of foreclosures are down significantly throughout the state.

The local realtors attending the meeting said they are seeing many of the things that Noon described.

President of the Southern Piedmont Land and Lake Board Sharon Wilborn of Realty Resource in South Boston said she is seeing additional activity in the housing market.

J.C. Eldreth of Century 21 On The Lake in Clarksville agreed adding that he is seeing a “constant upswing” with lower-end properties selling, while higher-end properties are lagging behind.

Honey Davis of the Davis Co. in South Boston said she saw an influx of activity for mid-range properties in the $160,000 range and that she hopes the government extends the current $8,000 homebuyers tax credit, which is set to expire on Dec. 1 and maybe even improve it.

In the lake area, Charlie Simmons of Simmons & Associates in Clarksville said he is seeing increased activity, but business is still slow.  He noted that August and September were good months.

Simmons also pointed out that the real estate slowdown in the area has been three years in the making with 2005 being a very good year, 2006 was good but not as good as 2005, 2007 was slow, and 2008 was awful.

The realtors also offered a little advice for those seeking to buy or sell a property.

Davis stressed the condition of the home for sellers.  She said in her experience the homes that are selling quickly are in perfect condition where buyers can move right in.

Wilborn added that listing the property at the right price, particularly in this down market is key to making a sale.

As for buyers, Davis summed it up in three words.  “Go for it,” she said, noting it’s a big-time buyers market with historically low mortgage interest rates.

Carole Blair of Lake Kerr Realty in Buffalo Junction urged buyers to be flexible and keep their expectations realistic.

The Southern Piedmont Land and Lake Board was formed in December 2006 and has 20 real estate offices and 82 realtors as members.  The group also has six appraisers, and six area businesses are affiliate members.
The VAR also has a Web site, www.vahomeownersalliance.com, which offers a wealth of in
formation to homeowners and prospective buyers, Noon said.