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June 23, 2009 09:50 PM

Money Matters: Housing Report


Stimulus money, government help for struggling homeowners and all the efforts from Washington, D.C. aren't doing the trick to save the housing market.


That's according to a Harvard study out this week that finds the housing market may drop even further with the weak economy, rising interest rates and tight credit market.

How does Sioux Falls fit into the picture?

When it comes to the housing bubble, Sioux Falls never really took part. The city didn't see the dramatic rise in prices, or the subsequent drop either. Home prices are only down about 3 percent in the city.

"We don't have a significant foreclosure problem. We don't have a significant short sale problem in Sioux Falls. We still have yet to see any real price decreases in our marketplace," said Barton Hacker of the Sioux Empire Realtor Association.

But Sioux Falls is not enitrely immune from problems in the housing market. Sales of homes are down 17 percent from this time last year.

"So we've got a lot of characteristics of a strong market, but because of information coming out of national reports, consumers are still hesitant to get off the fence and purchase," Hacker said.

Homes priced $150,000 dollars or less are selling; fueled by the first time homebuyer $8,000 tax credit. That's driving down the average home sale price in Sioux Falls. Hacker predicts a gradual increase in sales of homes of all prices between now and September.

"Because we didn't see the valleys and peaks other places have we're also not going to see the sharp growth curves for recovery. It's going to be a nice slow and steady pace, but we're starting to see it," Hacker said.

While a 17 percent drop in home sales may sound like a lot, Hacker says it's important to keep in mind that while the rest of the nation saw a significant drop in 2008, it was one of Sioux Falls' best years for home sales though September.
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