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Home sales surge by 22%

Home sales in Henderson County surged by 22 percent in the first half of 2013 and days on the market is falling, signs that the county's important residential real estate market is recovering.

"Henderson County sales are up significantly over last year," said Bill Fishburne, president of the Henderson County Board of Realtors. "We see the growth and the growth has been steady."
The report from the Board of Realtors showed that 728 sales had closed through June of this year, up from 598 over the first half of 2012. The average price increased to $205,000, a gain of 4 percent over last year, while days on the market dropped by 4 percent, to 182 days.
"The market is good, the number of foreclosures is down so prices have gone up a little bit, not a whole lot," Fishburne said.

If the sale of existing homes continues, the area could see a revival of new home building.
"We see a consistent, steady demand and the problem we're going to run into is a shortage of inventory," he said. "The standard is if we get to six months (worth of inventory) that gives you a balance between buyer and seller. Last year, overall we probably had about a 24-month supply. Now it's in the teens. On average we have about a 14-month supply and that is significantly reduced from a year ago or two years ago."
Homes in the $150,000 to $300,000 are selling fastest, and hot neighborhoods of new homes include moderately priced Wolf Chase on U.S. 64 East and Eagle Pointe, a small development of homes in the $250,000 range next to Blue Ridge Community College.
A rise in the cost of borrowing, Fishburne said, could cool the market.
"The thing I fear the most now is interest rates," he said. "A month ago the interest rate was in the low 3s and now we're in the high 4s."
The highest gains in the first half of this year occurred in April, with a 40 percent jump over last year and 136 closings. The 137 closings in June marked a 15 percent increase over June 2012. June also saw the biggest drop in how long homes sold had been on the market — 128 days, compared with 170 days a year earlier. And last month's sales also recorded the highest average price of the year, $230,721, up 14 percent from June 2012.
"This is still a great time to sell a house because prices have rebounded," Fishburne said. "This is still a great time to buy a house because interest rates are sub-5 percent."