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Existing home sales increase over October 2007, drop from previous month

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Brunswick County had a 96 percent increase in existing home sales in October compared to the previous year, the N.C. Association of Realtors recently announced.

Brunswick County agents sold 159 homes in October 2008, compared to 81 the previous year, resulting in a 74 percent increase in dollars, from $23.46 million to $40.9 million.

The average cost of a home in Brunswick County dropped from $289,695 in October of 2007 to $257,369 in 2008.

The number of homes sold was down slightly from September of this year, when sales topped 170.

Linda Lynch, a broker at ReMax at the Beach’s Holden Beach office, said this week the majority of the increase is due to more activity in the northern end of the county, but she is seeing more potential buyers in the Holden Beach office.

“We’re seeing a slight uptick of people coming in and looking, mostly for short sales and good deals,” she said. “Investment buying has picked up, and prices have dropped. People are feeling better now that the election’s over.”

Lynch has been working in real estate for more than 25 years and has never seen activity stop so abruptly as it has in the past couple of years, she said.

But she is seeing things turn around now.

“People are coming in, looking and asking questions,” Lynch said.

At Coldwell Banker Sloane Realty, sales manager Chris Bryan said the company did not see an improvement over the previous October. But he has seen an increase in traffic in the last two or three weeks and predicts a greater increase after the winter months.

“We’re seeing interest in both the mainland and the islands,” Bryan said.

Sloane Realty co-owner Debbie Smith said Brunswick County is definitely a buyers’ market.

“There are a lot of good deals to be had right now,” she said.

Compared to the other regions in the state, Brunswick County showed the most growth over the previous year, with only one other region posting an increase.

The Brevard area showed a 7 percent increase over 2008, while all other areas dropped.

Asheville sales were down 19 percent, while Hendersonville dropped 34 percent. Sales in the Triangle region decreased 45 percent, while the Triad numbers dropped 28 percent.

The nearby Wilmington market saw a 19 percent decrease and a 5 percent drop over the previous month.