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Real Estate

An inside look at local housing markets across the country

Local markets spotlights 5 different areas across the country, showcasing what is uniquely happening in those housing markets. Local real estate agents, loan officers and appraisers share what characteristics are currently defining their housing markets.

Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky, USA Skyline

“It’s wild,” said Elizabeth Monarch, who runs eXp’s Kentucky operation. “It blows my mind.” Monarch is talking about not just a Louisville housing market where prices increased more year-over-year than at any time in her 19 years as a real estate agent (the average Louisville sale is roughly $280,000 a home, Monarch said). She’s also referring to a new group of homebuyers. “I’m dealing with a lot of young people who have invested in cryptocurrency,” Monarch said. These clients have either made money in cryptocurrency and are spending it on a home, the agent explained, or see the rapidly escalating real estate market as another hot investment. “In the south, if you talk crypto, people will look at you like you have 10 heads,” Monarch said. Whatever the currency, Monarch believes “consumer confidence is very strong,” and “people feel very good about spending their money.”

Meridian, Idaho

Landmark in Meridian Idaho iconic water tower

In the two-hour radius around Boise there are about 12,000 real estate agents, and 800 homes on the market. Few stable industries exist in Idaho, explained Stacie Herrig — an agent herself at Epic Realty, “So a lot of people got their real estate license.” In today’s low-inventory market, many Idaho agents are taking extraordinary measures. “They are cutting commissions a lot. Sometimes down to 1% and then giving them a 2% credit on their next purchase,” Herrig said. The practice has become widespread enough, Herrig said, that agents are developing a reputation for being willing to work for next to nothing — instead of the typical 3% commission for a sales side agent, and 3% for buy side. Scrounging for listings, agents are turning to homes just being constructed. Local builders like CBH Homes give agents the typical 3% commissions for procuring an interested buyer, Herrig said. But new homes present their own problems as national builders “are not cooperating” with commission payments, Herrig said, adding that these larger outfits are, “not even offering money anymore.”

Shelbyville, Tennessee

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA Downtown Skyline Aerial Panorama

Shelbyville has 20,000 people, lies more than an hour south of Nashville and has become an improbable hotspot for homebuyers since the spring, said Cindy Barnes of Heritage Realty. Low mortgage interest rates are seen as a major factor for the surge nationally in home-buying demand. But in Barnes’ experience, it’s cash buyers who are winning out. “Every time it’s the people that can pay cash that get the home since there are like 30 offers a house,” Barnes said. “A lot of them are coming from out of state, maybe California, and they can pay with cash. They can close as soon as the seller wants them to close.” The median home price in Shelbyville seems to have doubled in the last few months, Barnes said. Homes that once sold for $100,000 now go for $200,000. Part of the demand is homebuyers flocking from neighboring Murfreesboro, where they have been priced out. Barnes said she’s forging relationships with homebuilders to gain listings. But with material shortages like lumber, completing a project is “going a little slower than anticipated.”

Panama City, Florida

Panama City Beach, Florida, view of Front Beach Road at night du

“We have a lot of relocations,” said Scott Seidler, an agent at Keller Williams. “A lot of New York tags are here.” Abutting the Gulf of Mexico, Panama City advertises itself as having the “world’s most beautiful beaches,” so it is accustomed to travelers from outside the Sunshine State. But in the past year, Seidler said, more out of towners are eschewing hotel stays or short-term rentals and are simply buying up properties. Seidler is anticipating developments from local home builder St. Joe’s to come onto the market soon. But, for now, Seidler said, “inventory is extremely tight,” meaning agents “could feel some pain.”

Orlando, Florida

Absolutely amazing beautiful summer street with palm trees on th

“We are like the condo capital of the country,” Edward Hru, an agent at eXp realty in the city home to Disney World. Hru said that there are a number of new condo projects, but not enough to deal with central Florida’s housing shortage. The agent partly blames federal mortgage forbearance, which, “has been a big kick in the butt.” Once forbearance winds down, the agent wonders if “there will be new inventory coming in.” But for now, Hru said that he is scouring the outskirts of Orlando in the search for available properties.

To see the HousingWire August Magazine, click here.

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