More homes are selling in the Augusta area, but they are selling at lower prices and staying on the market for a longer time than the past few years.
According to monthly data from the Greater Augusta Association of Realtors, 453 homes sold in the Augusta area during March. This is slightly more than the 411 homes sold in March 2011 and the same as March 2010.
The average selling price for those homes was $142,296 for this March, however, slightly less than the $146,037 average in March 2011 and $157,972 in March 2010.
Charlie Dutch, an agent with Re/Max in Augusta, said the numbers are consistent with what he has seen over the past few years. But the reason for the continued stagnancy is not cut and dry, he said.
“It’s a complicated answer,” he said. “People aren’t rushing out to buy, so it’s taking longer to sell property. As to why they are so hesitant, there are a lot of factors.”
Dutch said attitudes seem to be slowly improving from where they were a few years ago, and if buyer confidence continues to improve it will dramatically help the real estate market.
“There seem to be more positive attitudes all around,” he said. “It’s still really slow, but there is some improvement.”
As the peak home buying and selling season approaches, Dutch said he is optimistic about how this summer will go for area real estate.
“Of course, I was hopeful two to three years ago, too,” he said.
Sherri Melton, an agent with Keller Williams Realty Augusta Partners, believes home construction is one of the biggest reasons existing homes are remaining on the market for a longer time.
“For about $135,000, someone can get stainless appliances, granite and new everything,” she said. “Compared to a house where everything is at least 10 years old, that’s hard to beat.”
Augusta is still doing well, she said, especially compared with other parts of the country. She already has excellent numbers this year, she said, and looks for this summer to be an improvement, even if just a slight one.
“Our market is good, you just have to be priced ahead of the curve,” she said. “We haven’t been hit like a lot of areas. It could be worse.”