Tahlequah Daily Press

July 26, 2013

Local housing market remains strong

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Buying or selling a home can be among the most emotional experiences an adult ever has.

And while a National Association of Realtors report indicates a slump in existing home sales, local experts are more optimistic.

“Right now, it’s a buyer’s market,” said Century 21-Wright Real Estate Operations Manager Steven Wright. “Our listing inventory is up over 100 listings from this time last year. On average, our sellers from all transactions are negotiating about 94 percent of sale price. The average time a home is on the market is about 60 days. We’ve had a good summer, so it’s switching to seller’s market, as there are fewer homes available. That said, there are plenty of homes to look at right now.”

Wright indicated the bulk of existing home sales are in three-bedroom, two-bath, two-car garage units.

“Those are our bread and butter,” said Wright. “The average listing price is $110,000, with the average sale going for $105,000.”

While turnaround time from listing to contract is brisk, Wright indicated the time from contract to closing has gotten longer.

“What we have seen go up is the length of time to close, which has more to do with the lenders and new restrictions,” said Wright. “The average days to close a year ago was somewhere between 30-45; now it’s 50-60. The time a buyer is in contract is a lot longer.”

Former Tahlequah resident Betty Ridge moved from here to the Ozarks in 2012, and her home on the north end of town is still on the market. Like the bulk of pre-existing homes, Ridge’s property is mid-sized, with two full baths and a two-car garage.

“It sits on one acre of land with mature trees on a quiet, dead-end street,” said Ridge. “When you see someone driving down the street, you usually know who it is. The neighborhood is stable, with a mix of retired people, young families and working professionals.”

Ridge listed with the same real estate agent she’d used in a previous successful sale, but said that at the time, the first-time buyers’ tax relief program was in effect and sales were a bit better in that price range.

“We have lowered the price [on the current home] once,” said Ridge. “Our realtor tells us Tahlequah has a lot of houses in our price range at this time and buyers have a lot to choose from. We have seen some interest in the house lately but don’t have a contract yet.

Ridge is perplexed as to why it’s taking so long to sell her property.

“Tahlequah and northeastern Oklahoma always seem to be a bit behind the national trends,” said Ridge. “We were slower in experiencing the recession, and recovery is slower. Almost daily I read or see broadcast stories about the housing market getting better and better, about realtors not having enough houses to sell. I heard one earlier this week that in June there were fewer existing houses listed than there had been since June 2001. We hope someone will decide this is the right place for them soon.”

Wright offered a few tips for those looking to sell their homes.


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