Home Sales Up (or Down) Around the Nation

home salesThe spring homebuying season is well underway, but everything isn't exactly coming up roses. For one, news reports from around the country are offering contradictory assessments of the residential real estate market.

A broker in Spokane, Wash., Sabrina Jones-Schroeder at Exit Real Estate Professionals told MSNBC.com, "It's so hard to tell what will happen," adding, "The lending industry remains so conservative." As a result, many qualified buyers are having trouble getting mortgages.

On the other hand, Realtor Chalmers Haas in Idaho Falls, Idaho, said to the local KPVI TV station, "Real estate right now is a fairly stable market even though you hear bad news about the economy." Haas explained that while there are more listings in his area coming on the market, there are also more buyers out there, making it a good time for both home buyers and sellers.

In the Pittsburgh area, home sales exhibited growth in both January and February, but then fell off during March. "We got excited when we saw two consecutive months of positive growth, knowing
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last year we had the benefit of a tax credit and this year we didn't," Dan Murrer, vice president of Pittsburgh-based real estate information firm RealSTATs told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Murrer attributed the absence of last year's tax credit for first-time homebuyers in part for the decline.

Home sales in Minneapolis were down 17.4 percent in March compared to a year ago. Even worse, foreclosures accounted for a large percentage of those home sales. "Foreclosure sales accounted for roughly 40 percent of [pending sales] and 43 percent of closings," said Brad Fisher of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors in a statement. "While those market shares are in line with recent trends, they're still higher than what we would like to see."

But in Charleston, S.C., there was 19 percent growth in home sales in March over last year during the same month. "The fact that we are seeing this volume of sales again this year very encouraging and certainly an indicator of a stabilizing market," said Rob Woodul of the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors in an interview with the Charleston Post and Courier. Sure, prices are down, but Woodul doesn't think that's a problem, especially in local Berkeley County, which has shown a 29 percent increase in homes sales this year as compared to 2010. "I think it's coming down to affordablilty," he said. "The pricing there is just incredible."

For more on home prices and related topics see these AOL Real Estateguides:
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