QA: Mem Webb discusses real estate trends

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What trends have

you seen in the last few months in the Demopolis housing market?

The market in Demopolis is still very hot. Properties under $150,000 are generally selling pretty fast, but it does depend on location and the condition of the house. Values have increased and where the national trend has kind of been a slump, the Demopolis market is still very hot.

Email newsletter signup

Can you ascertain why the market has remained so good for this area?

We have had a lot of people moving into the area. Also interest rates are still very low. Although they have gone up, they are still considered low. Generally speaking there is more demand than supply.

Does that mean that it is a buyer&8217;s market or a seller&8217;s market right now?

It&8217;s a seller&8217;s market, which means people can sell their homes quickly at a higher price.

How are the other bracket of real estate doing, such as above the $150,000 range?

The higher priced homes, $275,000 and up, are staying on the market for a longer period of time. The reason is when you get up above a certain level, the economics of the area reduce the number of clients drastically.

What about homes in the mid-level range, such as between $150,000 and $275,000, are there any available for buyers?

They are available. Not a lot, but there are some available. In the $175,000 to $220,000 price range, there are some available but not that many.

How do you think the new developments in the area, such as the development south of U.S. Highway 80 and the new gated community, Gilead Estates, will impact the current market?

I think the properties that are being developed south of Highway 80 are called affordable homes, and they are geared more towards the lower income people. I think they will enable some of the people who are in apartments on limited income or living in substandard housing will be able to move into a house to either rent or buy at a very reasonable price. I assume it will be government subsidized. The gated community out by the country club is the higher-end market right now and I think you&8217;ll see people that are living in other nice homes will decide that want to upgrade to something a little bit more and so that&8217;s where the market will come from.

In general do you think there are more new homes for sale or existing homes for sale in the Demopolis area?

There are more existing homes. There are very few older homes on the market right now. There has been a lot of interest in Main Street in the last couple of years. We have seen houses down there turn and be remodeled and upgraded. Then I would say the general market for homes for sale are properties that are 15- to 35-years-old.

How does the Demopolis market compare with other places in West Alabama?

Livingston has seen a housing pick up. I think the market is still limited in Linden. I don&8217;t know much about the Greensboro market because we don&8217;t operate over there. But Demopolis is considered the hot spot in West Alabama for housing and growth.

If someone is trying to sell their home, what advice would you offer them to ensure it gets sold?

Eye appeal has to do a whole lot with the house, curb appeal. The trend today is to go through your house and de-clutter. People don&8217;t realize how many knick-knacks they might have. If you live there for years, you will accumulate a lot of extra knick-knacks and stuff. The trend today is for the house to be neat and clean an uncluttered, so you can go in and picture your things in that house and not see everybody&8217;s else&8217;s stuff.

If a home has some improvements to be made, is it better for the seller to go ahead and make them before they try to sell?

I would suggest they go ahead and make the improvements that need to be made. Keep in mind when making improvements to do things that would appeal to most buyers. By and large, you get more bang for your buck when you paint. If I were selling a house and I was going to repaint a room or several rooms, to pick a very neutral color. You get more bang for your buck out of paint. If you&8217;ve got an aging roof or the outside needs painting, any major problems with house I suggest going ahead and making the improvements, because the average buyer is going to look at those improvements and it may turn him off or decide that he needs to discount the price because he will have to make those improvements. If the house is priced right, presented right, it should have a short shelflife.

How long is the average time for a house to be on the market?

It depends on the location, it depends on the house and how it is presented. Some houses stay on the market for one or two days, some of them it could be four to six months. I think the average market time should be between nine and 120 days.