Area realtors optimistic about 2011

By Tim Guidera - bio | email

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – Three days into January and there's still no telling whether this will be the month, the quarter or the year Savannah's real estate market turns around.

Or has that turn already taken place?

"For whatever reason, October, November and December so far have been very good months for the local market,'' said Steve Fischer, owner of Savannah's ERA Kelly and Fischer. "Pending sales have been up, sales have been up. So the projections and the feelings among us is that the recovery locally has started.''

Local realtors believe it could continue into a full blown rebound because of reduced asking prices, still-inviting interest rates and new jobs promised by several local companies including Gulfstream, JCB and Mitsubishi Power Systems.

It's a rare combination of factors that could create an even more rare scenario, a good year for buyers and sellers as well as realtors.

"It is a buyer's market, but I think sellers have realized that and they're accepting more realistic offers on their properties,'' said Glenda Ganem, associate broker with ReMax Savannah. "I'm very optimistic.''

"Nobody's ready to celebrate yet,'' added Fischer. "I always laugh about that and joke, but it's the truth. We're not ready to celebrate, but it does feel like the market is recovering. We see the signs.''

One big one is who's been doing the buying lately.

"Normally, as far as pricing goes, investors tend to call the bottom and in the past few months in Savannah we've actually seen investors coming out and buying with cash,'' added Fischer. "And when the investors start taking cash out of the bank and buying real estate again, typically that's the indication that we've hit the bottom in our market so we feel really positive as well.''

They're also hopeful that 2011 will bring the most positive turn in years for local real estate.

"As long as the interest rates don't creep up too high, which scares people,'' said Ganem. "But they're still good and there are still lots of homes and good buys here. So I'm very excited and optimistic about 2011.''

"We're not looking for the boom years,'' adds Fischer. "No one's looking for anything great. We just want stable, strong economy and a good housing market.''

Which, compared the last couple of years, would be great.

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