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Housing Market Affected By Attacks; Analysts Expect Upswing In Future

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Some belt-tightening may also have had an impact on the Triangle housing market right after Sept. 11, but analysts believe a sales slowdown will be short-lived.

Home sales across the Triangle in September were down about 10 percent compared to a year ago, but analysts who follow trends in this market believe this will be just a temporary blip.

Real estate agent Cam Lewis said she was glad just to be showing a lot of houses again.

"I have seen things start to pick up since Sept. 11. It's been good and getting better," she said.

As troubled as our economy appears, analysts say the Triangle market for new and existing single-family homes has been on the upswing since late last year, thanks to lower interest rates.

"I think it's obvious that what happened on the 11th probably caused all of us to withdraw for a while, but I do not think it's going to be a long-term withdrawal," said housing market analyst Ed Dunnavant.

People in the housing sector admit the Sept. 11 attacks did create at least a short-term buyers' market with a glut of homes for sale, but they do not believe it will last much longer.

For some house hunters, it will remain a buyers' market as long as interest rates remain near historical lows.

"We're getting postcards every day in the mail telling us that the interest rate has been lowered and that we should re-apply to refinance, and I think that that is definitely a plus," said homebuyer Annie Burge.

Analysts warn though that when the Triangle housing market does bounce back, it will not be as hot as it was in the 1990s.

Market Opportunity Research Enterprises of Rocky Mount says in the 1990s, the Triangle area saw the number of homes sold increase 10 to 15 percent annually. In the coming years, it should be a 4 to 7 percent rate.


Len Besthoff, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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