T he housing market in Granville and throughout Washington County is gradually beginning to look up.
“Overall, I would definitely say the market is getting better; it’s improving slowly,” said Daniel Campbell, owner of DC Realty.
An indicator that the real estate market is up is when the inventory of houses is down, because that means properties are moving. Last year at this time, the number of homes for sale in the village and town of Granville was in the nineties. As of last week, Campbell said that number was in the mid-fifties.
The benefit of a low inventory is two-fold; it keeps the market active and it increases value.
“The inventory of homes is down a bit from last year; that helps prop up prices a bit,” said Leon Barkley, president of the Washington County Board of Realtors.
Though both Campbell and Barkley see this as progress, they said the cost of these houses isn’t quite right.
“Prices are not what they should be; they’ve leveled off, but they’re not as high as they used to be,” Barkley said. Campbell said the prices are off but not to the degree of other areas in New York state.
Rebecca Dittmeier, a broker for Country Horizon Realty, does not think pricing is in on an upward swing. She thinks the fact that prices have leveled off is a good thing, and she said houses are selling.
All of the agents think people have been hesitant to buy since the recession, but are starting to feel more secure.
“The economy is a little better, and people are breathing a sigh of relief,” Barkley said.
Dittmeier sees not only the public looking into buying, but private ventures as well.
“The groundwork is being laid for Granville to have a growth spurt. The new businesses coming in are showing confidence in the community,” she said, adding that she’s optimistic for this year, as long as people are realistic about pricing.
All of the agents said the houses they’re predominantly selling are single-family homes. Barkley has also noticed second-home buyers and investors coming back into the market, after they were significantly missing in action during the last few years.
Bob Tressler, the owner and a broker of Heritage Manor Realty, said he has daily inquiries coming in about houses in this area. He said he’s showing everything from lavish homes to plots of land.
He credits this uptick to a stable local economy. “It’s not just a vacation home area, and it’s affordable,” Tressler said.
Dittmeier is reporting similar trends; she’s got higher-end homes and big properties with land on the market. Before, she was only moving houses that ranged from $80,000 to $200,000 — now she’s seeing houses upward of $300,000 selling.
The owner of Michael ‘Craig’ Campbell Realty, Craig Campbell, said sales at all levels are improving, though not dramatically. He cites public confidence as a major factor in the housing market.
“Many people don’t want to put their homes on the market until they see improvement — then the market becomes flooded by overabundance,” he said. He also thinks governmental decisions impact a person’s decision to buy or sell.
“People don’t buy a home and commit to a 30-year debt unless they know they can get a job,” he said.
Though banks continue to be cautious and are making it difficult to get a mortgage, Tressler believes they’ll ease up.
“I expect the market to continue to grow; banks are loosening up the drawstrings. If you’ve maintained good credit, you’re in a really good spot right now,” he said. Dittmeier agrees.
“There is room for more properties to be put on the market. If people are thinking of selling, now would be a good time to list,” she said.
Additionally, the agents said the mortgage rate, which is currently about 3.25 percent, remains historically low.
Craig Campbell also pointed out programs that allow both New York and Vermont buyers to borrow the entire purchase price of a home as well as closing costs, as long as they have very good credit.