October 15, 2012

Area home sales dip in September, rise for the year

Greg Fox sees a number of trends in the housing market that he thinks are good.

Greg Fox sees a number of trends in the housing market that he thinks are good.

New houses are selling in greater quantity, total home sales are up and the inventory of existing and new houses on the market is shrinking.

“I see those areas as a positive sign … that we are a stable market, a balanced market,” Fox, broker and owner of Realty World Alliance, said on Monday. “And I think that’s a good place to be for both buyers and sellers.”

Fox was reacting, in part, to the latest home sales numbers, released Monday by the South Central Kansas Multiple Listing Service.

Figures from the MLS monthly report showed that overall home sales in the Wichita area fell in September, but they’re still up for the year.

According to the MLS, total home sales fell 6.3 percent compared with the same month a year ago.

But year to date, total home sales are up 5.7 percent: 6,062 homes sold through September 2012 versus 5,737 homes sold through September 2011.

The overall decline in September sales was driven by lower sales of existing houses; those sales fell from 665 in September 2011 to 611 last month, according to the MLS.

New home sales in September, however, jumped by 71 percent, from 28 in September 2011 to 48 in September 2012.

“I think it shows how far new homes had to get to that recovery and they are on that path,” said Tessa Hultz, CEO of the South Central MLS and the Wichita Area Association of Realtors.

“I like seeing the new homes being sold,” Fox said. Even though more new houses were sold in September, Fox doesn’t think the number affected sales of existing houses. “Twenty new homes aren’t really hurting the existing market.”

There were fewer existing houses on the market in September: 3,732 compared with 4,021 in 2011. And the number of new houses for sale was 239, compared with 341 a year ago.

In a press release, the MLS said the housing inventory indicates a balanced market – one that does not favor either buyers or sellers. It calculates that the market has 6.1 months’ worth of inventory in existing houses and five months in new houses. A balanced market is one in which there is a five- to six-month supply of houses.

“That five to six months it’s about right, to where there are options and choices on both sides,” Hultz said.

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