Real estate agents eager for busy buying season

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Craig real estate agents are eager for signs of spring. Their busy season is closely tied to warm weather.

"There's a lot you can't see in the winter," said Dave VanWagner of All Star Realty. "Some homes have nice lawns or gardens and maybe an outdoor hot tub. Spring and summer are definitely the high points of sales in this market."

Frank Kawcak at Western United Realty agreed.

"You just can't see the nice landscaping or driveways and sidewalks this time of year," he said. "People get more active, buying after the holidays and tax seasons are over."

Both said that high-dollar home sales have leveled off recently, but the mid-level home sales remain steady.

"High-end homes are tougher to sell, but the commercial market is fairly strong," Kawcak said. "What I would like to see are some more building lots on the market."

Both agents have noticed an increase in the availability of rentals since pipeline workers left town.

VanWagner also has seen interest in the lower-end market recently.

"The smaller, older homes have been gaining quickly in the last two years," he said. "The meat of the Craig market, though, is still the middle-range homes -- the $120,000 to $160,000 range. That market has stayed steady."

VanWagner said many recent homebuyers would rather fix up an older home to get locations that are close to schools, churches and shopping.

Some higher-priced homes are quick movers for Georgina McAnally at American North--west Realty. She saw a home in the Pine Ridge subdivision come under contract after just two weeks on the market.

"People are moving up to bigger houses," McAnally said. "Houses under the $300,000 range are selling very fast."

She would like to see more new homes on the market because they sell within 30 to 45 days after entering the market.

Frank Kawcak agreed, saying he would like to see more subdivision projects in town.

"We're seeing much more home purchasing than building," he said. "I've heard that building materials have seen big price increases since the hurricane."

Price increases are not stopping investors from buying older homes to remodel and return to the market, said VanWagner.

"I've seen lots of investment movement," he said. "People buying $70,000 ... 80,000 ... 90,000 homes and seeing a 15- to 20-percent profit after fixing them up."

Whether at the low-end or high-end of the market, spring is the time when buyers' thoughts turn to real estate.

"Things are looking up," Kawcak said. "I'm very optimistic about this spring and summer."

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031 ext.207 or at dolsen@craigdailypress.com.

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