By Kristin Bien (email@example.com)
7:08 AM EDT, April 3, 2012
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY -- The signs of spring are everywhere, even the local housing market. The number of houses sold in the first couple months of the year in St. Joseph County are up more than 20 percent when compared to last year.
The for sale sign in Stacy Johnson's yard will soon say sold.
"We've had a lot of traffic in here," says Johnson, "we got on the market fairly early in the season and right as the weather started to get nice."
The Johnson's have lived in their Granger home for about nine years. A job relocation is now taking the family to Florida. Lucky for them they won't have to take their mortgage with them.
"We got an offer in about 18,19 days," says Johnson. She says homes in her area generally spend more than a month on the market. Johnson credits the early spring with her sale -- And she may be right.
"Spring coming early has made a big difference it has motivated buyers to move earlier than usual," says 2012 Association of Realtors President Roger Hibbs. Hibbs has seen more showings, more open houses, more buyers and more sales since the beginning of this year. Usually realtors notice an uptick in buyers in April and May but activity this year began to pick up in January according to numbers from the Association of Realtors. In fact, the number of houses sold in the first couple months of the year in St. Joseph County are up more than 20 percent compared to last year.
"We are encouraged," says Hibbs, "we are optimistic. Unfortunately, like any year, you can't determine what the year will be in January and February."
Realtors and homeowners are hoping the numbers are not a fluke and that sold signs continue to go up well past spring.
"I think for us, it was a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work," says Johnson.
Hibbs says low interest rates are also playing a part in the number of homes sold.
Elkhart County isn't seeing the same positive trend though, home sales for the first three months are down about .5 percent this year compared to last year.
Quicker home sales in St. Joe County doesn't always translate into good news for sellers. It is still a buyers market out there. And Hibbs says there are a lot of homes on the market right now.
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