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Housing update at GGNA meeting

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Of the Keizertimes

The state of the housing market depends on your perspective.

Dana Burk, a principal broker and certified residential specialist with John L. Scott in Salem, gave a real estate update at the most recent Greater Gubser Neighborhood Association (GGNA) meeting.

“One of the biggest questions I get every day is ‘How’s the market?’” Burk said. “It’s specific to each neighborhood. Overall in Salem the market is well. We’re well past the bottom. We bottomed out about a year and a half ago.”

Burk said the average home price in the Salem area rose 13 percent last year, going from $177,231 at the end of 2012 to $200,691 at the end of 2013.

“We have pent up demand and a lack of inventory,” she said. “All of the foreclosures are just starting to hit the market. There are also people wanting to move up. You have younger buyers who feel they will make up costs long-run due to what is happening. The consumer view is that housing is back.”

According to Burk, banks putting foreclosure homes on the market will change the housing market.

“If you’re buying, you might want to wait,” Burk said. “If you’re selling, you might want to sell now.”

Burk said houses are at price levels from nearly a decade ago.

“We peaked in 2007,” she said. “Most people peaked in 2006. We didn’t crash as low as some other places.”

While parts of Salem have a 13-month supply of houses on the market, Burk noted that drops to about five to seven months of supply in Keizer.

“That means we have five months of houses to sell if no other houses come on the market,” she said.

Burk said there have been issues lately with appraisals.

“They are still coming in low,” she said. “If you’re buying it’s a good thing. If you’re selling, it’s not. Some people just quit trying to sell and took their houses off the market. Some people are just starting to put their houses back on the market now.”

Traci Benjamin, a mortgage loan originator with Landmark Professional Mortgage, said paying a little more now on a mortgage loan can pay off.

“If you make an extra $30 a month payment, that saves you a total of 41 payments,” Benjamin said, referring to the life of a loan. “That’s going out to dinner once a month. You will also save more on shorter terms. Going with a 15-year mortgage will save a ton versus going 40 years.”

Both Burk and Benjamin emphasized the need for going with experienced people.

“You want someone who’s been in residential realty for a while,” said Burk, who works alongside her husband. “Make sure you ask (your realtor) how long they’ve been in it. You want someone who is full-time. There are a lot of part-time people out there. A lot will only sell 10 homes a year. We sold 44 homes last year.”