Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

May 2, 2013

Housing prices up in Ashland, nationally

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

ASHLAND — The real estate market is rebounding across the country, including in Ashland.

With housing prices rising and interest rates remaining low, local Realtors are in agreement: Now is the time to buy a home.

The Standard & Poors most recent Case-Shiller home price index released this week indicated housing prices in 20 major U.S. markets rose 9.3 percent in the last year — the largest jump since 2006. At the same time foreclosures continued to decline. The national average is 2.8 percent of homes with mortgages facing foreclosure, compared to 3.5 percent last year.

The Ashland market seems to be mimicking national indicators, according to local officials.

From 2011 to 2012, the median sale price of a home in the Ashland market rose about 5 percent, said Jody Tussey,  president of the Ashland Area Board of Realtors and principal broker of Century 21 Brooks Wells Enterprises.

However, a comparison of 2012 and 2013 home sales for the period of Jan. 1 to May 1 revealed a 9.5 percent jump in the median sale price.

“That is a huge improvement,” she said, but cautioned “the average sales price is still only up around 4 or 5 percent, I would say.”

Jay Woods, Boyd’s property valuation administrator, said his office is also seeing buyers and sellers getting “good prices” compared to a property’s assessed value. “People are getting what they are asking,” he said, but it is still taking longer to sell a home.

The average time period a home is on the market remains at 168 days locally, according to Tussey. “That is a long time compared to other areas,” she said. “Our buyers are still very cautious. There are still a lot of people who have concerns about their jobs. I think that is the main thing holding them back.”

While the market may be improving, it still has a ways to go in Ashland, according to David Floyd, principal broker and owner of Floyd Realty and Appraisal.

“Things are getting better, but we are not where we were back in ’07, ’08 and ’09,” he said. “That was an abnormal market, just like this is an abnormal market. The market is certainly coming back, but it won’t reach those high points for a while longer.”

Both Tussey and Floyd agree, however, buying a home now is a smart investment.

“It is a great time to buy,” Tussey said. “They really should not wait. Interest rates are really incredible, and I truly don’t know how long they will last. I think the price of houses is going to continue to rise, even if it goes slowly. It is going to rise.

“There are a lot of properties on the market, but there is not an overabundance.”

“It is absolutely the time to buy a house,” Floyd agreed. “If we are coming out of the doldrums and there is a $150,000 house out there and homes start selling, it may push that price higher.”

With prices rising and interest rates remaining low, a dollar buys a lot more house than it might in the future, he said.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2635 or cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com