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High Desert homes in demand; prices inch up

     Demand is up for homes in the High Desert, but the supply isn’t keeping up, according to November real...

Article Date : 12/18/2009
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Home buyers and commuters wait and see (Posted Date :Monday, January 14, 2008)
Report indicates recovery for new home sales unlikely before 2009
VICTORVILLE — Local Realtors still see a slow market going into 2008 for the High Desert and say it is mostly due to a “wait and see” attitude that permeates the current buyers market.

A report in December by the National Association of Realtors shows that existing home sales are expected to trend up slightly in 2008. However, the report says that a recovery for new home sales is unlikely before 2009.

The National Association of Home Builders is saying the same thing. They’re forecasting that new home sales in the first quarter of 2008 will continue to stagnate. They expecting new home sales to bottom out sometime in mid-year with a gradual recovery that could begin later in the year or into 2009.

Jill Lakin, an agent for Shear Realty, believes the wait and see attitude is one of the causes for the slowdown.

“People are afraid because of the market,” Lakin said. “I don’t think it’s because there aren’t buyers out there. Everyone I’ve talked to says they’re going to wait until after the first of the year.”

She says most people are waiting to see how low prices will go.
“They don’t want to buy now and see the price drop even more,” she added.

Even though the real estate market is suffering a down trend, Realtor Patrick McConnel with Ambassador Realty says that the High Desert is still one of the best real estate bargains.

“This is the most affordable real estate market in Southern California,” he said.

McConnel says the basis for the real estate market in the High Desert for years has always been people selling their homes down the hill and buying up here. But he says that has slowed down, too.

Jack Fales, also of Ambassador Realty, estimates that about 30 percent of the people drive down the hill everyday for work. He says many of them sold their houses down the hill and came up here because they could afford a larger home and better lifestyle, but still have to make the commute.

Fales says even that dynamic has changed.

“Now that the market has gone to zero, even the affordable homes aren’t going,” Fales said.

Another problem occurring in today’s real estate market is that many new homeowners are ending up “house poor.”

“When they get qualified for the maximum payment they don’t have any money left after driving up and down the hill. When gas goes to $3.15, now they can’t landscape, they can’t fence, a lot of them now are vacant,” Fales added.
Lakin says it is definitely a buyers market, even for new homes.

“For the first time in a long time, people are actually being able to make offers on new homes,” Lakin said. She added that builders typically don’t take offers.

Mike Dwight, senior vice president for Frontier Homes, a new home builder, didn’t want to comment on new home builders taking offers. However, he did say the new home market is going through the same slow down as existing homes and that their market is slow also because of the buyers wait and see attitude.

“People are sitting on the side lines waiting to see what happens,” Dwight said. “There’s still folks out there that are buying homes, just not as many as we’d like.”

One Realtor says there is something else that homeowners and home buyers in the High Desert are waiting to see, especially the commuters: When are all the new jobs being touted by city officials actually going to get here?

It becomes a wait and see, not just for buying a home, but also for getting a good job in the High Desert, that will make buying a home up here easier.

By: Patrick Thatcher

By : Daily Press
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