The Ottumwa Courier

Wapello County

January 23, 2014

Real estate market creating sense of optimism

OTTUMWA — If recent years are any indication, home buyers around the country are feeling generally more optimistic about purchasing homes than they were during the recent recession, and that sentiment has been echoed in southeastern Iowa.

According to Les Thostenson, Broker at Prestige Midwest Realtors in Ottumwa, there is “generally a feeling of optimism” right now in the real estate market. He points to several factors to explain why people are feeling strongly about the market, but the main reason is that the economy is getting stronger.

“We feel that people are feeling better about buying cars and homes with the economy getting stronger,” he said.

When the strengthened economy gets paired with the increased number of first-time home buyers and bigger inventory of homes to choose from, according to Thostenson, it causes a sense of optimism.

The numbers in Wapello and Davis counties from the past few years have shown that the feeling of optimism is rightly felt, and there has indeed been a rebound for the real estate market in the area.

According to Multiple Listing Services (MLS) statistics, where the real estate statistics are placed for most major firms, the market took a hit during the recession of 2008, but since 2010 it has been on the rebound. Wapello and Davis counties are usually grouped together in the MLS statistics because of their close proximity to one another, according to Thostenson.

The numbers from 2013 showed that it was a very strong year for the real estate market, at least in Wapello and Davis counties. While the number of residential transactions that were closed was 366, down from 403 in 2012, the average price for a purchased home was $98,829. To put that number into perspective, the next highest yearly average price paid for a home since 2001 was in 2010, at $95,922.

Although the number of transactions are not as high as they were before the recession, such as in 2005 when there were 516, the high number of average sale price points to a very strong year in 2013.

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