Augusta Economy

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Older demographic buying first homes, Augusta-area real estate agents say

Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011 9:45 PM
Last updated 11:46 PM
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Jennifer and Eric Hyatt never thought they would be able to own a house.

Jennifer Hyatt and her son, Cameron Spearbeck, 9, stand in front of their newly bought home in Martinez.  Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Zach Boyden-Holmes/Staff
Jennifer Hyatt and her son, Cameron Spearbeck, 9, stand in front of their newly bought home in Martinez.

Years of bad credit and poor financial habits left them thinking they would be renters for life, or at least until they could save up a sizable down payment.

But after a few weeks of working with Re/Max associate broker Maria Vaill and agent Kathy Carrasco, the Hyatts are now owners of a 1,530-square-foot home in Martinez.

The Hyatts are members of a growing demographic that Vaill said she has been noticing for several years now. There are more home buyers in their late 30s or early 40s, she said, who may have had financial struggles earlier in life but are just now getting to a point where they can purchase a home.

“They’ve finally gotten their credit squared away,” she said. “They may have been overextended previously, but they’ve made years of good choices and it’s finally paying off.”

The number of homes sold in the metro area between September and November was 1,183, according to data from the Greater Augusta Association of Realtors, higher than the 1,053 sold during the same period in 2010 and 950 sold in 2008. Agents in 2009 were able to sell 1,397 homes in the three-month period, bolstered by the federal home-buyer tax credits.

The spike comes from not only low interest rates and an increase in homes for sale but, more importantly, an increase in qualified buyers.

Jennifer Hyatt said her and her husband’s stressful financial past has made them cautious about how they handle money today. They aren’t taking any chances with this new big purchase, and are excited about writing a check every month that goes toward a major investment.

“When you’re renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage for them,” she said. “We’d rather pay ours.”

HOME SALES

Home sales in Augusta from September through November:

2011: 1,183 homes

2010: 1,053 homes

2009: 1,397 homes

2008: 950 homes

2007: 1,202 homes

2006: 1,432 homes

Source: Greater Augusta Association of Realtors

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