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Local real estate market seeing stabilization

National trends show a 4 percent rise in sales and prices

STAFF WRITER

BARSTOW • Local Realtors are noticing the number of foreclosured home sales decrease and regular sales becoming more prevalent, signaling stabilization in the Barstow real estate market.

“We have noticed an increase in fair market sales and regular buyers versus the influx that we had with real estate owned properties,” Barstow Realtor Charyn Holocker said. “So we’re seeing activity grow in the regular market, which is good for us.”

However, Curtis O’Brien, broker for Exit Strategy Realty, said the number of foreclosured properties being sold is still a significant portion of sales in the High Desert. Whereas foreclosured homes made up 92 percent of sales at one point, according to O’Brien, the number today is around 60 percent.

This past week national real estate market analysts reported a 4 percent increase in home prices and sales from October and November 2011 compared to the same time this year, according to Bloomberg News and the Los Angeles Times. However, O’Brien said while he’s noticed more buyer interest in Barstow recently, his own calculations for the area exhibit a 1 percent decrease in sale prices.

“Comparing the most recent three months, we were still at a 1 percent decline,” he said, “however, the sense is that we are starting to see a little bit of a leveling out and a little bit of an increase.”

Diana Flores, a local Realtor for 15 years, said she’s seen significant growth in sales and buyer interest in the last 4 to 5 months. As a broker associate at Williams Homes Inc., she said the 3 to 5-bedroom homes she sells west of Muriel Drive off Condor Road are currently half-sold and are going at a rate of two-a-month.

“We put up billboards on Interstate 15 and the response has been remarkable. People can’t believe you can get a brand new house for less than $200,000,” Flores said.

She explained that many who come to view the new homes are from Los Angeles and are looking to pay less and possibly start a business in the area. Another majority are civilian workers at Fort Irwin who live in Victorville and would like to cut down their commute time, according to Flores.

The San Bernardino-Riverside County region was one the top five areas in the nation most affected by the housing bubble and market crash, and O’Brien said this is the reason he thinks stabilization may take longer for the area.

“We were hit harder than most so it’s expected that our recovery will take longer, but it appears it’s heading that way,” he said. “It will slowly spread to the other communities.”


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