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Numbers tell the story - did the tax credit have an impact on home sales?

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By The Staff

 Our Louisville MLS Report shows single family home sales from Jan. 1 to May 5, 2010,  and compares those sales to sales from Jan. 1 to May 5, 2009.

 The percent of change is pretty dramatic in the lower price ranges. Homes priced under $100,000 saw a 42.85-percent increase in numbers of homes sold.   There was a 15.38-percent increase in numbers of homes sold priced between $100,000 and $149,999. Interestingly, the numbers of homes sold priced between $150,000  and $250,000 actually fell when compared with the same time period in 2009, but homes priced between $250,000 and $299,999 spiked a full 40 percent. Numbers of homes priced between $300,000 and $349,999 jumped a whopping 425 percent: from four homes sold from January 1 to May 5 in 2009 to 21 homes sold by May 5, 2010. Homes priced between $350,000 and $399,999 saw an 80-percent increase. This is where the positive numbers stop. Homes priced between $400,000 and $449,999 have decreased: from 10 homes sold by May 5, 2009 to seven homes sold by May 5, 2010.  From $500,000 to $549,999: three homes sold to one home sold. From $550,000-$599,999: three homes sold to two homes sold. For both 2009 and 2010 year-to-date, May 5: there was only one home sold each year. From $700,000 to $900,000: two homes sold by May 5, 2009, and thus far no homes have been recorded as sold in 2010. Both years reported no homes sold by May 5 that were priced at $1 million or more. It seems obvious to me that home-buyers seized on multiple opportunities during first quarter 2010:  The first and repeat home-buyer tax credits, low interest rates, and competitive pricing. So now what? Well, it totally depends upon which newspaper you’re reading or which news channel you’re watching. Predictions are all over the board.   Many predictions are that the housing market will dip again in mid 2010 before making a slight come-back toward the fourth quarter. National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun said, ‘Later in the second half of the year, and into 2011, home sales will likely become self-sustaining if the economy can add jobs at a respectable pace, and from a return of buyer demand as they see home values stabilizing.’ Yun went on to say, ‘Another encouraging sign is the improvement in the availability of jumbo and second-home mortgages. As bank balance sheets strengthen, it is just a matter of time before lending of non-government-backed mortgages steadily opens up.’ Of course there are very realistic obstacles still in the way of a truly robust real estate market.   Rising foreclosures will push more inventory onto the market, putting additional downward pressure on home prices.  And many lenders are concerned about the threat of rising interest rates. But here’s what we have on our side:  We live in an area of the country that has weathered every real estate storm very well.  And most particularly, we live here in Oldham County, where demand for affordable housing, great schools, and an incredible quality of life is still very high. Challenges still ahead?  Absolutely.  But I remain your eternal optimist.   Jacki and Jerry Shafer are local Realtors with Keller Williams Realty / The Shafer Team.  Jacki and Jerry are long-time residents of Oldham County. The views expressed in this column are those of the writer