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Local real estate market on the rise

3/9/2013

By RUTH CAMPBELL

By RUTH CAMPBELL

rcampbell@gctelegram.com

Finney County's residential real estate market is climbing out of a slightly down period, with home prices on the rise and more homes being sold.

However, those residences are spending more time on the market, according to information from the Garden City Board of Realtors.

Although 26 homes have sold through January of this year in Finney County, the number of days those residences stayed on the market is higher than it was last year, but the average price, so far, is higher than 2012.

The homes that sold in January spent an average of 139 days on the market. Average sale price was $143,207, said Terria Judge, broker associate at Home Town Real Estate and president of the Garden City Board of Realtors.

Most people are buying homes at $140,000 to $180,000 right now, which is up from the previous two years.

In January 2012, 17 homes sold for an average price of $110,218 and spent an average of 116 days on the market.

The most prevalent type of financing this year has been cash, with conventional loans running "a tight second," Judge said.

"We are trying hard to promote Garden City and this area. The rental market is very tight, pushing people into what they can't afford," she said.

"Interest rates are excellent," she added, compared to the previous year, but requirements for obtaining loans are stricter.

"Credit scores have to be higher, and credit history has to be very clean," Judge said.

Lisa Ratzlaff at Garden City State Bank said the bank's 30-year mortgages currently have a 3.625 interest rate, and the 15-year mortgages carry a 2.75 rate. Oftentimes, Ratzlaff said, people go for a 30-year mortgage.

Currently, the bank is seeing a mixture of refinancing and 30-year mortgages. People who had 30-year mortgages are refinancing at a lower rate, she said.

In 2012, most people financed homes using conventional bank loans, Judge said.

For 2012, Garden City's Realtors sold 332 homes with an average sales price of $129,072. Those residences were on the market an average of 115 days. Most financing then was conventional and Federal Housing Administration loans.

Most people purchased homes priced from $100,000 to $120,000 in 2012, and those homes were mainly four-bedroom.

The next most popular price range was $140,000 to $160,000 for homes with four bedrooms or more.

Finney County saw 290 homes sell in 2011, with an average marketing time of 111 days, Judge said. Average sales price was $121,086, and the most prevalent financing was FHA "by leaps and bounds," she said.

"So you can see we're gaining, slowly increasing the average sales price and number of sales. However, it is taking longer to sell those homes," Judge said.

Garden City didn't get hit as hard when the housing bubble burst as cities on the east and west coasts. The ripple effect, Judge said, takes longer to get to the middle of the country, softening its impact somewhat.

"We've stayed pretty stable," Judge said.

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