Real estate agents: Jefferson City home prices up 4 percent

Sellers beginning to see multiple offers, experts say

As the stock market creeps higher and higher, data show that home prices are quickly following behind.

Nationally, home prices have risen 8.1 percent in the past 12 months, according to S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Although Mid-Missouri doesn’t always follow the national trends, local real estate agents agree housing prices are on the rise in the area.

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Realtor Kris Ballage says Jefferson City area housing prices are on the way up, with homes selling at or near listing price.

“I believe wholeheartedly we are on the upswing. The market is going up,” said Bunnie Trickey Cotten, president of the Jefferson City Area Board of Realtors. “We are up 4 percent over last year.”

Unlike other communities that go up and then way down, Central Missouri’s market doesn’t tend to fluctuate that much, said Trickey Cotton. She and Remax Realtor Kris Ballage attributed the more stable market to the fiscally conservative lending institutions.

When the housing market crashed several years ago, Mid-Missouri didn’t take the hit as hard as many other parts of the country.

While there were fewer foreclosures, the area did see a decrease in home values, with the median sales price at $120,000 in 2006. During the past six years, the home prices have gone up and down in a $4,000 range.

“We’ve had an average of 3 to 5 percent appreciation,” Trickey Cotten said, until 2007, when the market hit a plateau. The recent statistics show the fastest increase in home prices since the summer of 2006.

Although prices are on the rise, Trickey Cotten said, lowinterest rates, sitting at 3.625 percent, are still making it a buyer’s market. She’s seeing more people put their houses on the market, and investors jumping at the opportunity to buy.

“We are hopping. It is a blessing for buyers and sellers,” she said, noting a lot of inventory and the low interest rates.

Ballage agreed, “Because mortgage rates are at a historic low, your dollar will buy a good deal more home.”

Ballage also said she’s seeing multiple offers on houses as things are picking up. She said homes are selling at or near listing price.

“When a really great home comes on the market, you do have to act on it. Otherwise, it’s going to be sold underneath you,” she said.

The number of homes sold is also a testament to the upswing of the market. Trickey Cotten said transactions have increased 22 percent, and volume is up 25 percent over the past year.

Accompanying photo: Kris Ballage

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