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This is an article that was published on the front page of The Spectrum- our local newspaper in St. George- on Wednesday, April 21, 2010.
ST. GEORGE – Washington County’s residential real estate sector is showing strong signs of recovery after posting a 41 percent surge in year-over-year sales during the first quarter.
With an ample selection of low-priced distressed properties enticing buyers and driving sales upward, Allan Carter, the manager of developer services for Southern Utah Title Company, said affordable pricing is a primary factor in the market’s renewed activity.
“It’s being driven entirely by distressed properties,” Carter said. “Everybody likes a good deal.”
The recent sales boost likely serves as the first indication of the market’s inevitable resurgence from the depths of the sub-prime lending crisis, said St. George real estate agent Jeremy Larkin, of Keller Williams Realty.
The surge in consumer activity has proven lucrative for Larkin’s business, he said, as the Realtor’s sales have doubled since the first quarter of 2009.
Larkin described the region’s housing situation as “the tale of two markets,” with prospective buyers flocking to distressed properties and other residential units boasting impressive savings opportunities, but little activity occurring in the overpriced and high-end segments of the market.
“It’s as though they don’t exist,” Larkin said of the overpriced homes in competition with an influx of foreclosures and other distressed properties.
Carter said it is not uncommon to see several offers on the same foreclosure property in Washington County, and with increased demand for housing, prices are on the rise.
From January to March, the average price of a dwelling in Washington County increased by about $11,000 to $173,673. The slight increase is an encouraging indication of recovery, Carter said.