FOX47 NEWS - Hitting Home

Jeff Angileri
Feb 13, 2008, 10:28 PM

When Sydney Marie and James Kingsley got married, they got more than just a new life together.

We had ended up with duplicate furniture, says Sydney Marie Kingsley.

So they decided to look for a bigger home.

Last Spring they put their two story house on Raymond road up for sale.

Now almost a year later, they still haven't had any offers.

I'm apprehensive, it's just unsettling and kind of hard to deal with, Sydney Marie Kingsley says.

It's just slow for everybody, it's just a bad time I guess, says James Kingsley.

The Kingsley's aren't alone. According The Realtors Association of South Central Wisconsin, 6,307 homes sold in Dane County in 2007, that's 400 fewer than in 2006.

When it was a few years ago and the market was red hot, people could put their homes up for sale and they would be beating buyers off with a stick. That doesn't happen anymore, says RASCW Executive Vice President John Deininger.

Deininger says blame it on the national economy.

With an unstable stock market, the rising price in gasoline and the uncertainties of the war in Iraq, consumers are cautious.

That generates an attitude in the local consumers mind and it certainly makes a difference in the decisions that they make, Deininger says.

But a housing slump is all in the eye of the beholder. It's tough to sell a home right now, but those looking to buy are in a great position.

It was the middle of 200 that we began to see things go from a seller favored market place to a buyer favored market place, says Excel-Exclusive Buyer Agency Owner Jay Reifert.

Take the Kingsley's for example.

They were forced to price their home for less than they wanted to initially in order to compete with other sellers.

I thought maybe $200,000. Because you always go down, but our realtor priced it at $179,900, James Kingsley says.

But that doesn't mean the bottom has fallen out of the housing market.

From 2006 to 2007, the average sale price of a home in the Madison area actually increased 1.5% to $251,488.
Not the meteoric rise the area saw in past years, but at least prices haven't dropped.

Deininger says between the university and the capitol-South Central Wisconsin is still seeing some substantial growth.

We have low unemployment, strong growth and a strong economy, Deininger says.

Of course, a house is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

Deininger says in order to sell, home owners need to become more flexible. Especially with the price.

You have to work a little bit harder and make sure it's priced accordingly to the market and what it will bear in the market because you are competing with more property, Deininger says.

When they get offers at this point have to look carefully at what's on the table because they may not see when the next buyer come along, Reifert says.

Deininger says there is no telling what the market will do in the coming years, but admits he does see 2008 looking a lot like 2007.

The Kingsley's hope at least in 2008 they're home will sell, because until that happens they aren't able to move.
We went and talked to the bank.. they said they would not approve buying a house until this one sells, Sydney Marie Kingsley says.

RASCW released new data.
Now they are forecasting a 1.2% drop in the prices of existing homes sold this year.

One area Dane County has matched the national average is with foreclosures.

In 2007 there were more than 1,100 foreclosures filed in Dane County.

That's 80% more than last year.

With the increased number of foreclosures,
The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority has put together a program called Homeowners HOPE to help families try to keep their homes.

And yesterday - the federal government announced Project Lifeline.

For information on Homeowners HOPE Log onto www.995hope.org

And for more on Project Lifeline go to www.project-lifeline.org

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