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April's real estate sales up over '07

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

SUPPLY—The Brunswick County Association of Realtors (BCAR) wants to get the word out that real estate is still a good investment. It’s even starting to rally after hitting rough waters in recent years, the group says.

According to the latest numbers from the North Carolina Association of Realtors, Brunswick County was the only county in the state to post an increase in sales between April 2007 and April 2008.

This April, the number of units sold was in the county was 137, up from 116 last April, a 19 percent increase.

The latest numbers also include good news for buyers. The average price of a house in Brunswick County decreased during the same time period, from $311,686 in April of last year to $276,308 this year.

To help spread the word, BCAR members organized a media presentation last Thursday, where they presented what they called “positive news” about their profession to media representatives.

The group has also launched a new public relations campaign, “2008 is Great for Real Estate,” which includes a new Web site of the same name (www.2008isGreatforRealEstate.com).

BCAR president Grady Watkins and executive director Susan Pike highlighted mortgage rates are at record lows, the Carolinas are faring better than the rest of the country in terms of price appreciation, and when a home is sold in North Carolina, income generated from real estate industries is $17,037 and additional expenditures on consumer items is $5,171.

Also presenting an economic picture was senior economist Woody Hall of UNC-Wilmington’s Cameron School of Business, who said he revised his economic forecast for Brunswick County from 4.5 percent expected growth to 3 percent.

“We’re still going forward, but less rapidly,” he said.

In previous years, the average rate of growth was about 6.5 percent.

Hall said it’s “entirely possible” the sales of existing homes have hit a “cyclical low” and are headed back up.

“The worst may be over,” he said.

According to Watkins, sales are now above the number of units sold in 2004, when the market was at its peak—a good sign for the future.

In a recent interview, Watkins says mainland properties account for about 70 percent of the county’s home sales right now, and the list prices run the gamut from about $110,000 in wooded areas like Boiling Spring Lakes to $2.5 million on the beaches.