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Talk addresses real estate market
Expert: As much unknown as ever
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Forsyth County News


A nearly 30-year veteran of the real estate industry, Debbie Purdy has seen many downturns in the housing market.

“But I’ve never quite seen one this long,” said Purdy, who is a broker with Purdy Real Estate.

With so many factors plaguing the housing market, she has sought the advice of others struggling with the same battles, which range from foreclosures to lending.

Wednesday, Purdy joined a group of other industry professionals for the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly Real Estate Roundtable.

Tim Hopkins from Keller Williams Community Partners led the discussion, offering recent statistics on single family detached home market trends.

So far in 2010, sales in Forsyth have been up about 11.6 percent over 2009, though still about 12 percent below what they were in 2008.

However, compared to the 1.7 percent sales decline in metro Atlanta region, which includes Forsyth, the county is faring quite well this year, Hopkins said.

But he added that is a big “however” with the statistics.

Sales were particularly high due to the government homebuyer tax credit incentives. The end of that incentive sparked an unusual drop in the summer months, were are typically high for sales.

“Once that incentive went away, it just sucked all the air out of the market,” he said.

When the third quarter sales figures from 2010 are compared to the same time in 2009, there’s a drop of about 6.2 percent.
Some of that decline could be from people who purchased homes in the second quarter instead of the third in order to get the tax incentives.

“There’s as much unknown in the real estate market now as there ever has been,” he said.

Hopkins touched on a variety of issues, including sellers pricing of homes, duration of listings on the market and lake house sales.

Much of these topics can be related back to the number of distressed sales, including foreclosures and short sales.

Hopkins said distressed homes have continued to dominate the market, making up about four of every 10 sales.

“This is still a big part of the market,” he said. “I don’t see it slowing down any time soon.”

Purdy said that statistic has been closer to seven of every 10 homes in her experience.

Others also shared their tales from the market, something Purdy said made the roundtable particularly helpful since attendees also included real estate lawyers, bankers and investors.

“You have to take it for what [Hopkins] is presenting, but then you also get to incorporate the feedback from the group to determine what the real statistics are,” she said after the event.

Other topics ranged from the popularity and problems of people renting instead of buying or selling, to the difficulties short sales have caused.

“You always walk away with some information that applies, and it’s interesting to hear from other people in the business to see how what you do and what you’re doing compares with what they’re doing and what they’re saying,” Purdy said. “Any information we can get is valuable.”