Housing market continues to send mixed signals

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The housing market is giving off mixed signals not only in Richmond, but throughout Virginia. Tighter credit rules remain a sizeable obstacle for people looking to buy or sell a home, but today lawmakers learned the real estate market is showing signs of stability.

Carrie and Justin Simpkins have an expanding family.

"We recently had a new addition so we have two kids now and need to upgrade," Carrie said.

They're in the market for a bigger house, and so they have to sell their old place.

"We know it's a buyer's market," Carrie said.

Lately, buyers have either been stingy with their money or hard to find. But, finally, the tide may be turning.

"What I'm trying to paint here is a picture of an economy, and in particular, a housing market that is moving forward, slowly," said Paul Bishop of the National Realtors Association.

Today, the Virginia Senate Finance Committee heard from the National Realtors Association, which reported that while home sales nationwide remain down, home prices are becoming stable. However, buyers are still finding it tough to get a mortgage.

"We're not anticipating any significant increase in home prices over the next several months," Bishop said.

It's a perplexing reality in the Richmond market, and beyond.

"Back when the market was booming, the legislature was complaining about affordable housing. Now we have affordable housing, but people can't get the loans. You really can't have it both ways," said Gary Duda of ReMax Action Real Estate.

In Virginia, homes are selling faster, and for a little more money than when the market appeared to bottom out.

"We're trying to establish what our new normal is gonna be," Duda said.

With that in mind, Carrie and Justin have been on the market for two weeks. They're optimistic they've done what it takes to make the sale.

"We're not in a hurry mode, but we definitely want to not sit on the market for too long," Carrie said.

The lawmakers asked if there was anything they could do to unlock the credit markets, but at this point, there are still looking for that answer.

Also today, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate for a 30-year loan rose to 4.21%, up from last week's average of 4.1%.

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