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Home sales up in Greensboro

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GREENSBORO, N.C. --- The Census Bureau reports new home sales ticked up higher in November across the country than they have been in more than two years---up fifteen percent overall since this time last year.

Sales of new homes rose to an annual rate of 377,000 in the month, up 4.4% from October, and up 15% from year-earlier levels. It was the highest rate of new-home sales since April 2010, when sales were inflated by a temporary $8,000 tax credit for home buyers.

Real Estate experts in the Triad say we are also seeing growth in the market in our area.

The sights and sounds of new construction in the Stratton Hills area is music to the ears of Betty Smith.

"They've sold very well," she said, referring to a new neighborhood developing near New Garden Rd. and Battleground Ave.

"For the most part, most of the homes have sold before they were finished."

In the last year, smith has noticed both new and existing homes that are priced just right will sell within a reasonable time frame.

The Census Bureau report pointed out, the combination of near record low mortgage rates, lower unemployment and a drop in foreclosures means there are more buyers interested in purchasing, and fewer available homes.

Smith said the more competitive supply and demand has helped increase home prices and values in some areas of Guilford County, like Oak Ridge, Lake Jeanette, Irving Park, and Summerfield.

"We're finding that new homes in some areas, inventory is down to a five month supply. Which is a very normal market."

And the word "normal" is not one used to describe the American real estate market very frequently in recent years.

All good signs, pointed out Greensboro's Realtor's Association President Lolita Malave.

"We're very excited about any increase in home sales," she admitted.

Looking over November real estate numbers released just Thursday, Malave noted that home sales in the Triad have risen 3% since last May.

"I think any business owner would be pleased to see a 3% rise in profit!" Malave added.

"Homes are being priced appropriately, buyers are making reasonable offers, therefore houses are going under contract.

Appraisals are coming in well  and lending has improved. Therefore, it has become far easier to purchase a home that it was, say, this time last year."

Malave explained that the Triad never saw the dramatic decline in real estate that other cities did, like Las Vegas and in Florida.

But, she said, the did see a steady decrease and the Piedmont suffered.

"This month, we've also seen our home prices are up about half a percent. That's also a good number. Again, we didn't have huge declines to begin with, so we can't expect huge increases. We can expect slow and steady wins the raise."

Both Malave and Smith agree: realtors, sellers, banks and buyers are all still cautious.

"I don't think we'll ever see a market like we did in 2002, 03, 04," Malave said.

"We won't see that kind of market ever again, at least not in my lifetime," Smith also said.

"But, sellers can have confidence now that if they put their home on the market, that it would sell in a reasonable time if it's priced correctly."