Real estate agents look for a busy 2013
by Erin Dentmon
edentmon@cherokeetribune.com
December 29, 2012 11:11 PM | 2404 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With construction of projects expected to attract homebuyers to the community, such as the Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta in Woodstock now under way, Realtors hope to see an uptick in home sales for 2013.
With construction of projects expected to attract homebuyers to the community, such as the Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta in Woodstock now under way, Realtors hope to see an uptick in home sales for 2013.
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With home prices expected to increase slightly in 2013, Cherokee County’s real estate professionals are looking to a busy year of buying and selling.

“I do think there’s going to be more buyer urgency,” said Realtor Becky Babcock. “2013 will be a great year for buyers to pull the trigger and buy, and not sit on the sidelines anymore.”

Susan West, Realtor with Sunrise ERA Realty and the 2013 president of the Cherokee Association of Realtors, said she anticipates an upswing in the market and a sense of urgency among buyers.

“They see that prices are going up and interest rates are still low,” she said. The market will be competitive, she added.

The construction of a new hospital and the Outlet Shoppes of Atlanta could bring more residents into Cherokee County, West said.

Babcock said she thinks the price of renting may increase in 2013, driving some renters to purchase.

But Mike Pennington, managing director of Maxsell Real Estate, expects to see a strong market for investment properties in 2013.

“We sell the value of real estate all the time, but we stop at the first house. Owning one or two additional houses is a great investment, and one of the few you can borrow against,” he said.

He said the rental market will be strong among Millennials and people who could have trouble buying a home because of bankruptcy or other financial issues.

With the expected uptick in home prices and a trend of fewer foreclosed homes on the market, real estate agents are also expecting more people to try to sell in 2013.

“Buyers are going to be paying a lot closer to the asking price. Sellers are going to be in a lot more of a strong position in negotiating. They’ll be able to get what (a house) is worth and not have to accept the low-ball offers,” Babcock said, describing 2013 as what she expects will be a “win-win” situation for buyers and sellers.

More people may be moving around locally in 2013, compared to recent years where more real-estate activity was due to relocation.

Babcock said half her sales in 2012 were to buyers coming from outside metro Atlanta.

“What’s going to bump up the market is local buyers being more active than they were the last couple years,” she said.

Pennington agreed that resellers will make up a large chunk of the market in 2013.

“If you’ve been in your house six, seven, eight years, property values have come back up, and it’s easy to take a small loss knowing you can get a bigger bargain on the next (house),” he said.

Foreclosures may have a lesser impact on the overall housing market in 2013.

Babcock said she’s seen banks start to price their foreclosures a little higher than in years past.

“They’re starting to hold the line on their prices,” she said.

Banks have become more willing to accept short sales, West said. These homes typically sell for a little higher than foreclosures, she said.

Pennington said federal action - or inaction - regarding the fiscal cliff could impact the housing market.

“There are a number of items that may or may not be negotiated, and these things can affect homeownership,” including negotiations on interest rate deductions, he said.

West predicted that new construction and existing properties will both sell well in 2013. Price will be the most important consideration for buyers.

“I’m starting to see prices go up with sellers, giving them the opportunity to sell and take advantage of still-low prices moving up,” she said.

Pennington said land should prove popular with commercial buyers in 2013. He said several clients have shown interest in breaking ground on commercial and residential buildings in the first part of the year.

“I think we’ll see a lot more red clay over time,” he said.

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