"Our numbers don't look like the numbers you'd see elsewhere," said Bobbie McCombs, president of the Burke County Board of Realtors.
"Buyers remain in charge here in Burke County," said McCombs who, in addition to being president of the Burke County Board of Realtors, is a sales agent for C. Ervin & Associates in Morganton.
"The homes that are selling now are what the buyers perceive as a good value.
There are many, many choices out there, so if a situation does not work out as the buyer thinks it should, they quickly move on to their next choice.
There continues to be a lot of uncertainty about the economy and about jobs.
And, making a home purchase is a big decision at any time."
and other local Realtors see many buyers she
describes as "unmotivated," meaning they're shopping around, but not feeling any great compulsion or urgency to buy.
Gone are the days, especially in the first two-thirds of this decade, when many people bought houses and condos not so much as homes as investments.
"We were in a market for a number of years when you made money on a home no matter what.
We're not in that kind of market anymore," McCombs
"Fifteen years ago, you were told you had to stay in a house three to five years to break even or come out ahead.
That's more of the reality we're in right now."
Financial motivation helped spur the increased sales in October
, according to the National Association of Realtors
and the AP-Re/Max Housing Report.
Real estate agents from Texas to Maryland credited sales increases to low mortgage rates, affordable prices and the tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time buyers.
The latter incentive was set to die Nov. 30 before Congress extended it into next spring and added a $6,500 credit for current homeowners who move into another primary residence.
McCombs said the Burke County Board of Realtors last week discussed how members can do more to acquaint prospective buyers with the $6,500 tax credit (see sidebar story) as well as the facts of the first-time home buyer's tax credit.
The Realtors see both as potentially powerful stimuli for the local housing market.
"The first-time homebuyer credit has been a motivator to bring new buyers into the market," McCombs
said, "so the extension of that credit and the new $6,500 tax credit for homeowners who have been in their home for five years should bring even more serious buyers into the market."