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Encouraging signs in local housing market, economy despite upcoming election season


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Real estate reports for the month of August have been released and the results are encouraging for the local housing market. Residents in Marion and Alachua County can expect an all-around improvement in their economies.

The local housing market and economy are improving despite an election season, which is good news for sellers of houses like this one in Gainesville.

The sales of single-family homes are already up 26 percent from where they were at this time last year. Greg Lord, a member of the Ocala and Marion County Board of Realtors, attributed the increase in sales to families choosing to buy sooner than later.

“It appears that the inventory is shrinking, helping to drive the buyers to making decisions to purchase right now,” he said.

Current inventories represent an 8.9 percent supply of houses. Foreclosures and short-sales still dominate that market, but those numbers should shrink. Once inventory reaches a six-month supply, the market will shift to favor sellers. It’s a simple economic lesson rooted in the principles of supply and demand; as the inventory of existing houses decreases, housing prices will begin to rise.

The effects of the declining housing inventory would stimulate local economies. More houses would need to be built, which would result in additional jobs and tax revenues. Lord cautioned that it’s a process that will take some time.

“We’re still priced in a buyer’s market. It’s gonna take a little while for it to change to see quite a bit more inventory,” he said.

The political and economic uncertainty during the presidential election period factor into this delay.

Darryl Kirkland, a real estate agent in Gainesville, said that businesses tend to stagnate leading into November in election years.

He also notes that this trend takes place regardless of the outcome of the election. But fear not: Market activity should resume when the campaigning comes to a close.

“After November and after the holidays, spring and 2013, things should start picking back up again because we’ll have at least four more years before the next election,” Kirkland said.

George Pappas edited this story online.

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