Fueled by tax credits and low interest rates, April home sales nationally were up 23.1 percent over the same month last year, according to an analyst.
The numbers were even better in the Midwest in April, up 30.6 percent from April 2009, the best month in more than four years, said Denver-based Real Trends.
"The market is reacting as most expected with housing consumers starting to move quickly to take advantage of the tax credits for first-time and move-up home purchases," Steve Murray, editor of Real Trends, said in an e-mail.
Brokers and agents said they think April sales numbers will be up similarly when the Wichita-area numbers come out later this month.
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"I agree that the interest rates and credit deadline have played a very large role in the uptick of sales and prices for the April numbers," said Tessa Hultz, CEO of the Wichita Area Association of Realtors.
Many of those homes were at lower-end pricepoints, so much so that local broker and auctioneer Lonn McCurdy said his auction business has shifted this spring to higher-priced homes.
"We're getting larger properties, more expensive properties, some $200,000 to $500,000 homes," he said.
"We can cut an owner's holding costs in these situations. We're selling them within 45 days instead of sitting on a property for six months, handling listings from other Realtors that haven't sold."
Like Murray, Hultz said she thinks the industry will remain busy at least through the end of the second quarter in June, including some buyers who don't qualify for any credit like Hultz, who owned her last home in St. Louis for 2 1/2 years.
"Members are telling us that they have plenty of buyers that don't qualify for the tax credit," she said, "are not motivated by the tax credit and for other reasons are writing contracts well into May. No doubt, that the buyers writing contracts in May and after are more motivated by the interest rates than the tax credit."
Buyers had to have a home under contract by the end of April and must close by June 30 to qualify for the tax credit.
Murray said prices were up in every region in April, including an average increase of 10.5 percent in the Midwest.
"Home prices are ticking up locally as well as many parts of the country as a whole, so I think some buyers are also seeing that now might be the best prices they will see," Hultz said.