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Brunswick County’s existing home sales increased again in July compared to last year but decreased from the previous month, the N.C. Association of Realtors announced this week.
Local Realtors say business is still slower than the peak a few years ago, and buyers are searching for bargains. Most brokers remain optimistic about the future.
In July of 2007, Brunswick County sold 129 homes. This past July, that number jumped 51 percent—the biggest increase in the state—to 195, down 11 percent from 218 in June.
The average cost of the homes sold is down from last year—$233,847 compared to $369,555.
Sarah Harris, a Realtor and “top producer” at Cooke Realty on Ocean Isle Beach, said this week that by early September, the company will have surpassed its 2007 sales.
“We’re encouraged about the increase in activity,” Harris said, noting Cooke had a much busier summer in 2008 than in the past several years.
She said both mainland and island properties are in demand.
“Lots of people are looking and wanting to buy, so we are very encouraged about the fall season,” she said.
Martha Pope of Pope Real Estate in Shallotte Point said her business is seeing a slowdown right now and was actually better last year. She’s expecting a turnaround in the near future.
“I feel the market is going to improve,” Pope said “It’s a great time for buyers. There are lots of people who need to sell.”
Linda Stephens, owner of Rampage Realty near Holden Beach, said her business has increased over the past year, “but it’s not like it should be.”
Stephens said people who can afford to buy are zeroing in on foreclosures, and the law of supply and demand is definitely making it a buyers’ market.
“I think it will be next year before we see a turn-around,” Stephens said. “Right now, there’s too much inventory.”
The only other area in the state that saw an increase in sales between July 2007 and 2008 was Jacksonville, with a 31 percent increase, from 333 to 436.
Wilmington saw a 13 percent decrease, while both the Triangle and the Charlotte area experienced 30 percent decreases in sales.