Housing Market Inching Up

By Matt Porter

September 20, 2012 Updated Sep 20, 2012 at 6:49 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Home sales are up in the Southern Tier by about 400 according to a database used by realtors.

Although that's good news, home sales are still down about a 1,000 from the rate they were being sold at the peak of the boom in 2006.

Signs of life that the real estate market is coming back according to recent reports from the U.S. Commerce Department.

Single family home construction is at its highest pace in two years.

But, in the Southern Tier, experts say we've leveled out without the crash.

"From 2006 until now, it's dropped back to what we call the new normal, normal levels for our area," said local realtor John Farrell.

But, now, opportunity is knocking for home buyers thanks to historically low interest rates by the Federal Reserve.

"It's a world record low interest rate," said Farrell. "Anyone that has a good job, good attitude of course, this is the best time to buy a house."

That's got recent homeseller Jackie Francisco back on the market looking for a new, smaller home.

"Absolutely," said Francisco, "The interest rate is so low now you just can't beat it."

She's been renting since she sold her old Endwell home last year.

"Why should I pay to live every month when I can make an investment," Francisco said.

Farrell said he expects growth to continue, slowly, but he also said the home sales hinge on the fragile job market.

"It's job driven," he said, "The better you have for jobs, the better the outlook, the more optimism people have about going and buying a house."

Experts also say the election can hold future sales back.

"The election always adds uncertainty, there's people that put everything on hold until they find the results," said Farrell. "Next year should be a great year."