When the federal tax credits for homebuyers ended April 30, it stopped home sales dead in their tracks in some parts of the country — but not in Oklahoma City, although sales here did fall off some.
Realtors and builders both report that the buyer enthusiasm drummed up by the tax credits is lingering through the dog days of summer.
Linda Finch, a Realtor with Paradigm AdvantEdge Real Estate, said she'd seen bidding wars return to the marketplace, with some buyers paying more than sellers are asking to secure their dream home.
Determination on both the buying and selling side of deals has some people striking deals that otherwise would have been derailed by appraisals coming in less than an agreed-upon price. Finch said she'd had buyers and sellers split the difference to overcome such a pricing gap.
At midyear, homes were selling almost two workweeks faster than last summer — in 75 days on average in June, compared with 86 days in June 2009, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors.
Nonetheless, sales were off 6 percent in June compared with the year before and off 6.2 percent from May.
A sign of strength, however, was the average sale price of $160,570 was virtually flat with the average of $159,400 in June 2009, and the median price of $138,000 was a 2.2 percent increase over the year-ago median of $135,000.
On the building side of the market, construction has been rebounding from 2009 levels all year.
In Oklahoma City proper, the 1,313 single-family permits issued through June was a 25.3 percent increase from the first half of 2009. In the metro area — Oklahoma City, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore and Norman — the 1,878 permits issued through June represented a 21.3 percent increase.
"We're experiencing a lot of people getting out again and wanting to buy," said builder Steve Allen of Allenton Homes & Development. "We've had a great last couple of months."
Allen builds in two distinct price ranges $200,000 to $300,000, and $500,000 and up. Most of the buying activity now, he said, with the tax credits over, is in the $200,000 to $300,000 range, where move-up buyers who sold homes to first-time buyers using the credits are landing.