Jonesboro Real Estate Strong with Changing Trends

August 14, 2003 - Posted at 11:15 pm CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- The housing industry saw a record year for new and resale home sales in 2002. By this date last year, 675 houses had been purchased. So far this year, 717 homes have sold.

"It's up from last year 6.2%," said Sayoko Owens, a Crye-Leike real estate employee, said at a gathering of workers from the real estate and home loan businesses.

However, sales trends are shifting.

Developer Jim Able said, "Homes sold before they were finished. I mean that was just, that was the market here in Jonesboro, and over the last few years, we've had to have more homes near completion or completed before they've sold."

Buyers are more consumer savvy than in the past, but apparently not enough of them.

"As far as being able to educate the consumers and help them to learn about credit; help them to understand, you know, to learn about saving, budgeting, things of that nature, it's really needed. Bad," said Fannie Mae representative, Julias Hollie.

Consumers complain there aren't enough homes in Jonesboro priced from $80,000 to $100,000 available. Having enough money to put a down payment on a home continues to be the number one hardship, but government programs and low or no down payment offers are helping.

Of those programs, Fred Dacus Associates realtor Maria Gillis said, "I have not had any problems with those, and I've not had any problems with appraisers meeting it."

Gillis and other realtors mentioned problems they've had with getting their clients qualified for home owners' insurance. They said they're working with the federal government to make the guidelines less strict.