Housing market gains strength

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - There's good news for people to trying to sell their home.  The housing industry may be on the rebound according to a recent report.

Rickie Smith is confident she'll sell her home in Chesterfield, especially hearing news the housing market may continue improve.

"We're a little anxious but not too much so far," said Smith.

Housing sales are up eight percent the first quarter compared to last year according to a Central Virginia Housing Market report.

Smith has an open house Sunday. She put her home on the market in February. The Richmond Association of Realtors says this Spring buying season will be busy hopefully bringing Smith a sale.

"I just need the right person to come in a feel the same thing I felt so many years ago when I walked in and said this one is it," added Smith.

Realtors say many people are leaning toward foreclosed homes. Nancy Brooks sells them. She says they're selling quickly especially for first-time home buyers.

"Absolutely," said Brooks. "They do show and they do sell. You have to have a vision for a bank-owned property. They're not in as pristine condition as an owner-occupied home."

Foreclosed homes on the market can pose a challenge for Smith who's also competing against them.

"We had to take all of those houses that sold from foreclosure into consideration and yes it did bring the value of my home down," Smith noted.

She's made some big upgrades including patio repairs, new kitchen cabinets and counter tops- hoping to add more value.

Lenders say mortgage rates for a 30 year fixed loan are near an all time low of 3.75 percent, which is another reason Brooks expects home sales to gain strength.

"We are recovering," Brooks noted. "Definitely take advantage of the interest rates because we are stabilizing."

Smith hopes the positive outlook will bring on a pending home sale soon. We should know more about the future of the housing market when unemployment numbers are released this week. Lenders say they play a big role in the mortgage rates.

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