The president of the Iowa Association of Realtors says home prices were down in February, but Terry Knapp says there’s also some positive news. Knapp says the average sales price for February was down four percent from last year, and the number of sales were down from last year by 23%.
But he says the good news is there were almost 300 more sales in February than in January. Knapp, who is a realtor in Harlan, says the increase in the number of sales shows there are still people looking for homes. He says the $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers is a real positive, and he says the low interest rates make it a great time to buy a home.
Knapp says the February jump in sales was spread across the state. Knapp says 13 of their boards saw increases in their sales, and the Iowa Association of Realtors report that 61% of houses sold were on the market less than 120 days and 92% of the homes that sold were on the market 180 days.
"So there’s some pockets out there where the sales are actually pretty good," Knapp says. Businesses have announced more layoffs this month, and Knapp says there is a worry that the business slowdown will impact sales. Knapp says it is a concern, but there was not the big inflation in home values a couple of years ago, so prices have been steady. He says the number of sales have been down, but that is due to financing problems, as some people who could get loan a few years ago can’t get loans now.
Knapp says realtors are hopeful home sales will pick up with record low interest rates, high inventory and good prices.