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Housing market rebounding in New Richmond

Fewer for sale signs can be seen around New Richmond, thanks to a strengthening housing market. While prices have remained fairly stable, there are fewer homes on the market and more buyers waiting in the wings.

During his 10 years as a real estate agent in the New Richmond area, Troy Boe has seen the best of times and the worst of times.

He enjoyed the boom times seven to nine years ago and he's suffered through the lean times of the past few years.

As the typically busy spring season for home sales approaches, Boe is noticing a promising trend that bodes well for the area.

"This is the most optimistic I've been coming into a spring as I have been the past four or five years," he said. "We have a lot of buyers in the market right now looking to buy. There's just not a lot to choose from right now."

Compared to last year at this time, the total number of homes for sale today is about 20 percent less, Boe estimated.

"Why is that good?" he asked. "It's becoming less of a buyer's market and turning into more of a seller's market."

When demand catches up with supply, typically prices rise on homes, Boe said. While home values haven't grown dramatically yet, Boe said it's only a matter of time. He noted that as foreclosed properties that are on the market decrease, the prices will likely start to go higher.

"It will probably take a number of years to go gangbusters, but values will be going up a bit," he said.

For about nine or 10 quarters in a row, home sales in and around New Richmond have slowly been on the uptick, Boe reports. Now it looks like things have heated up even more.

"The moral of the whole story is this is really a good time to sell your house," Boe said.

Jim Moe, an agent with WESTconsin Realty LLC, said he's noticed the same trend throughout the community.

"I'm seeing a shortage of homes for sale," he said. "There definitely seems to be excitement in the air."

Real estate agents noticed improvement in the market in 2011, and things improved even more in 2012, Moe said. But 2013 is looking even better than last year.

The average time a home remains on the market today is about 130 days, Moe said. That compares to homes being on the market between 180 and 210 days back in 2010.

"That's a pretty good indicator that things are getting better," he said.

Home sales in and around New Richmond are stronger than other parts of the county, Moe suggested.

Moe attributed the positive mood in the home sales industry to New Richmond's "forward thinking" in terms of attracting new businesses and industries to the community.

While existing home sales are on the rise, New Richmond City Administrator Mike Darrow said the new home market also is looking up for 2013 and 2014.

Thanks to the community's recently completed "Land Rush" promotion, which waived certain fees for new construction, Darrow said the community will see at least $28 million in new construction over the next two years.

The housing that will be constructed during the next couple years will not only be single-family units but also a larger apartment complex.

To help keep the home industry clicking, Darrow said the city plans to host a "listening session" in the next month or so and invite realtors, builders, bankers and others to join in. He said the hope is to develop ways the city can help assist those involved in home building and selling.