Opinions mixed on local housing market conditions

If you ask 10 people you'll get 10 different opinions. That seems to be the case with Wilmington's real estate market. Between conflicting media reports and convoluted numbers, it's hard to determine just how well our housing market is doing. Some will tell you housing sales are down so far this year, and they'll also tell you that the market is picking up. It turns out both are technically true. In January and February of this year only 664 units have been sold. That's more than 300 less than last year. But the average price of a house in 2008 is a little higher this year, which indicates people are still buying. Keith Beatty has been working as a real estate agent here for 16 years. He says the local market isn't good or bad -- but steady. He said it's probably not as good as it could be, given what's happening everywhere else. Beatty said, "Effects of real estate is local, but obviously if people cannot sell their homes in the northeast or the Midwest or California, that want to be here, it does affect us, no question." Beatty said another reason why sales are down might be that people are skeptical given the state of the economy. But he said this makes it a buyers market for anyone with good credit and who can afford to buy a house. Of course realtors are usually the last to admit that the market is bad. But the president of the Wilmington area association of realtors said that there was a one percent sales increase at the end of 2007. She said that's a good sign, compared to most of the country where these numbers dropped.

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