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Jamestown home construction, sales up from last year

JAMESTOWN -- The housing market in Jamestown is seeing increases in home sales and construction, according to Mike Swartz, owner of Dardis Realty and a member of the Jamestown Board of Realtors.

"It is a good time to do real estate," he said. "It is a good time for both buyers and sellers."

Buyers are taking advantage of low interest rates while sellers are seeing a higher demand for homes, boosting prices, Swartz said.

Swartz said 32 houses are listed for sale by real estate agents currently in Jamestown. He said the absorption rate, the length of time until the last of those houses sold based on average sales activity, is about 80 days.

"A year ago we had an absorption rate of five and a half months," he said. "Right now we have a relatively small supply of homes on the market."

Nationally, most communities have an absorption rate of about six months to a year, Swartz said.

Property sales are also tracked by the city assessor's office, which compares actual sale prices to the values used for property taxes. Darrel Wollan, city assessor, said that as of the end of June, there had been 99 total residential property sales in Jamestown.

"It is probably a little ahead of the average for the past years," he said.

The average prices are also increasing as the supply of homes for sale becomes smaller, Swartz said.

Homes sold from September 2012 through now averaged about $133,000, he said. Houses sold between September 2011 and September 2012 averaged about $111,000.

Along with higher prices, homes are selling quicker.

The Jamestown Board of Realtors tracks the length of time from when a house is listed until the deal is closed. This often includes time from when the sale is made until financing is finalized, and the property is transferred.

"From listing to closing is 30 days less than last year," Swartz said. "That is about a 22 percent decrease, so property is moving quicker."

Some prospective homeowners are choosing to build, rather than purchase a home.

The number of residential construction permits issued so far in 2013 is about triple from the same time period in 2012, according to Gary Klundt, building inspector for Jamestown.

Klundt said so far this year the department has issued 14 building permits for 13 single-family homes and one 12-plex apartment. Five single-family home construction permits had been issued during the same time in 2012.

"Most are being built by the individuals that will ultimately live in them," Klundt said. "I think there are only two spec homes permitted so far."

Spec homes are built by home construction companies on speculation and are listed for sale after construction is complete.

Swartz said home buyers in Jamestown have a wide variety of circumstances.

"It is a real mix," he said. "Everything from people moving into town to people moving up in homes to first-time home buyers. Every reason people would move, we're seeing in Jamestown."