Submitted by WWAY on Wed, 04/16/2008 - 4:15pm.

WILMINGTON -- New numbers underscore a continuing slowdown in the local real estate market. We talk a lot about how tough it is for homeowners to sell their homes. But that means it's also tough on real estate agents. In Wilmington 660 homes were sold during March of last year, but only 389 sold during March of this year. That's a drop of 41 percent. Nationally, that drop has to do with affordability. When lending practices relaxed during the early part of the decade it created more buyers in the marketplace. That drove up demand and in turn drove up prices. The good news for real estate agents is that there are now fewer agents to compete with. Realtor CB Johnson said, "Nationally we have seen that as the market improves or worsens, disproportionately, agents get into or out of the business. When it improves they get in because they think it's easy money and a great way to make a living. And when it worsens, they may not have the skill sets they need to find clients and service them effectively." The realtors who remain say they now have to work harder to find homeowners who want to sell. During the real estate boom, many wanted to sell just to cash in. But that's not the case anymore. It's important to note that despite the market slowdown, 2007 was still the fifth best year nationally for home sales.

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