INTERVIEW: Richmond area real estate sales

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - We know that on a national level the housing market is in rough shape, but if you are in the market to sell or buy, the nation as a whole doesn't mean very much. Housing prices in the Richmond area are slightly different and that could play an important role if you decide to put your home on the market.

Laura Lafayette, the CEO of the Richmond Association of Realtors, joined NBC12 to discuss the market.

RYAN: First, tell us, what is the housing market like right now? I know that it's taken somewhat of a dip since the home buyers tax credit expired.

LAURA: Right. We had an excellent spring due to the housing tax credit that expired in the first -- the first deadline was April 30 and then June 30, you had to have closed on your house, so since that time, the summer months have been fairly slow.

RYAN: And do you think that there's just a lack of incentive now for buyers because that tax credit wasn't out there?

LAURA: I think so. I mean, I think what happened is people who were planning to buy anyway said, 'hey, we're going to move up our buying decision, get it done earlier, and take advantage of the crash that was on the table with the credit.' The folks that in our out there in the market, unless interest rates go up, they're sitting around going, 'Okay, why do I need to get into the market right now?'

RYAN: And you've had a mixed bag in terms of statistics. You were just telling me before we came on, home sales overall are up through the end of August a little more than 5 percent, almost 6 percent, but the sales price is actually done a little more than 3 percent. Is there an indication that sellers are reacted to the market and willing to bring the price of their home down in order to get them off and sold?

LAURA: I think so. That's a good point. I think there's two things going on. One, sellers want to sell and they have a limited amount of time or patience. And then they have got to set the price probably lower than they would have a year ago or two years ago. The second thing is that we have a significant number of foreclosures in the market and they bring down the average sale price as well.

RYAN: So what would you recommend to somebody that probably has some time to sell their house? Does it mean they're not moving, not needing to sell right away. It would be better to stay out of market right now until things start to moderate and stabilize?

LAURA: I think unless you have some particular reason to be in the market, there's a lot of inventory out there. This is a buyer's market, not a seller's market, and unless you need to sell, I think you want to think long and hard about that. If you do want to be in the market, because some people say, 'hey, wait a second, I want to sell my house because I can get a great deal on the house I always wanted,' then you have to be patient and know that you're going to have a two or three-month wait on average to get that house sold.

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