Lawrence and the economy
- Local business climate growing colder: Experts offer tips to survive recession
- Second Chance closes its doors
- Auto repair industry thrives
- Coping with recession
- Government hit with budget cuts
- More people buying cheaper food basics at grocery stores
- Slow sales hurt artists, but work still on display
- Man moving on after layoff, bankruptcy
- Home-building enters another year on decline
- Army interest
The Douglas County real estate market experienced a decline in sales last year, but there were signs of an upturn in December.
“Lawrence never really went into the tank, although it did slow down in the fall,” was how the 2008 market was described by Randy Barnes, Lawrence Board of Realtors president.
In 2008, 1,360 properties were sold in Douglas County, nearly all of them residential, according to Board of Realtors statistics. That was down 21 percent from the 1,677 properties sold in 2007.
The number of properties that went under sales contract in October and November 2008 were fewer than what was contracted in those months a year earlier. There was a slight sign of improvement, however, in December, when 53 properties — valued at $8.2 million total — went under sales contract. The number of properties was up from December 2007, when 50 properties valued at $10.3 million total went under contract.
“Is this a trend? Let’s see what the January 2009 numbers are,” Barnes said.
Nevertheless, some homes are still hard to sell. Jennifer Harrell has been trying to sell her Lawrence townhouse for more than a year. Three years ago, when the housing market was still booming, she obtained a 100 percent loan for her house. She still doesn’t have enough equity in it.
“I would have to sell my house for a lot higher than what it is appraised at to afford a down payment on another house,” said Harrell, 34. “That’s what makes it difficult to sell.”
Home foreclosures in Lawrence are up, but they are behind the national foreclosure rate.
The rate of foreclosure among outstanding mortgage loans in Lawrence for November was 0.5 percent, an increase of 0.2 percent above the November 2007 rate, according to American CoreLogic, a California firm that monitors the nation’s real estate market. That’s lower than the national foreclosure rate for the month, which was 1.7 percent.
And new home prices fell in November 2008 (0.53 percent) compared with the same month a year before, American CoreLogic shows.