The early returns are good – very good – on January housing sales, in Wichita and the Midwest.
Real Trends’ Steve Murray, a Colorado-based real estate market analyst, said January sales were up 19.3 percent year-over-year in the Midwest, the largest increase regionally in a surprisingly strong month. Nationally, sales were up 10.1 percent year-over-year.
And early reports are equally positive out of some of Wichita’s biggest brokers with monthly sales figures coming in. Preliminarily, sales appear up in excess of 20 percent year over year and close to the sales volumes of 2009, said Tessa Hultz, chief executive of the Wichita Area Association of Realtors.
“It’s a big surge, a strong surge with the Midwest leading the way,” Murray said. “We’ve had good winter weather, there’s a pent-up demand, prices are still soft to falling so there are good bargains out there. I just think that people are finding the wiggle room right now to get out and buy.”
Hultz agreed with Murray.
“Brokers I have spoken to are saying the upturn is due to several factors, and not just one,” she said. “They are seeing some motivated by demand, some by interest rates and some by pricing or increased market activity. The weather is almost certainly playing a role in the number of showings and traffic at open houses.”
Sales volume at J.P. Weigand & Sons in Wichita is up more than 40 percent January over January. Weigand’s residential general manager, Gary Walker, agrees with Murray’s analysis.
“It’s a combination of the weather and attitudes are more positive,” Walker said.
“Everybody out there is much more positive. Really, except for the Boeing news, most of the economic news has been better than it’s been for the last three years and there’s so much pent-up demand that people are done waiting for a reason.
“There just hasn’t been the usual doom and gloom of the last four years.”
Final January sales figures for the South Central Kansas Multiple Listing Service should be out late this week, Hultz said.