Housing market in the East on the mend following recession - WRBL

Housing market in the East on the mend following recession

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NEW BERN, N.C. -

After years of struggling with the recession, the housing market in the East appears to be on the mend.

Real estate agents say they're selling more houses lately and people are buying those houses faster.

But not all homeowners are feeling the effects. For the last two years, New Bern resident Cheryl Schneider has been waiting to sell her house in Augusta, Georgia.

"For the last two years we've had it on the market.  It's eating up all of our equity in the home just trying to sustain the monthly expenses," said Schneider.

She says even when she dropped the price on the three bedroom, one bathroom house by $20,000, she still couldn't sell it.

But real estate agent Drake Bratton with Coldwell Banker Realty in New Bern says there's hope for people like her. He says the real estate market is on the uptick.

"When you look at the days on market, that is how long it takes to sell the property, and we're seeing the days on market shrink, so that's good," said Bratton.

Bratton says the real estate market nationally hit rock bottom in 2009, but for the most part, it's been getting better every year.

He says the Neuse River Region Association of Realtors is selling more homes these days, including million dollar ones, in Craven, Pamlico, and Jones counties. He says the association sold 1700 homes in 2008, 1373 homes in 2009, 1371 homes in 2011, 1495 homes in 2012, and 1502 homes in 2013.

"We're up from where we have been," said Bratton.

In Jacksonville and Greenville, the number of homes sold has fluctuated over the years.

In Craven County, the number of new homes has gone down from 172 in 2009, to just 135 in 2013.

"I think what that tells you is we're probably going to have a shortage of new homes," said Bratton.

Meanwhile, Schneider remains disappointed her home in Georgia isn't sold, but she's holding out hope.

"Usually going into spring the market gets a little better," she said.

Bratton says the real estate market was very strong in 2005 and 2006. He says it could be a while before the housing market returns to those levels.

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