Area home sales continue to rise in August

09/17/2013 10:21 AM

09/17/2013 5:48 PM

Home sales in the Wichita area continued to outpace sales from a year ago and inventory for existing homes remained tight in August, according to a report released Tuesday.

The South Central Kansas Multiple Listing Service report said 907 homes were sold last month, up from 820 in August 2012.

The report said 858 of those homes were existing, while 49 were new. Those numbers compare with 768 existing and 45 new homes sold in the same month a year ago.

For the year, 6,056 homes have been sold in the Wichita area, a nearly 12 percent increase from 5,426 homes sold in the first eight months of 2012.

The data, said one Realtor, indicates the return to a normal market in which the pace of home sales is steady and seasonal, and pricing isn’t out of whack.

“It’s a very good market,” said Greg Fox, broker and owner of Realty World Alliance. “It’s a very consistent market. We don’t bubble and burst down to nothing.”

The report also said that the inventory of existing homes for sale in August was 3.9 months, unchanged from July. New home inventory was at five months. Five to six months of housing inventory is considered a balanced market, while inventory less than five months is considered a seller’s market.

The number of existing houses for sale in August was 3,332, compared with 3,827 in August 2012. Contrast that to August 2010, when there were 4,378 existing houses on the market.

The area’s existing inventory figure has been below five months since April and reached its lowest level this year in July.

Kirk Short, owner of Re/Max Realty Professionals, said that while it is statistically a seller’s market, there are conditions.

Buyers continue to ask sellers to pay for items such as closing costs. And the existing homes that are selling are those that are well maintained.

“It hasn’t gotten to the point where people are ready to settle,” Short said. “Buyers are still trying to be very creative in their own financing or offers.”

Fox characterized the market as “slightly” favoring the seller. Unlike more than a year and a half ago, sellers aren’t getting offers 15 percent below their asking price.

But “its not such a seller’s market that I can ask a ridiculous amount for our home,” Fox added.

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