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The National Association of Realtors’ new third-quarter survey of single-home sales suggests a national real estate slowdown. But if you ask a home seller in North Dakota, you might hear a different story.
North Dakota and Vermont are the only two states where sales increased from the same period in 2006 (The Realtors group had sales data for every state except Idaho and New Hampshire). Vermont existing home sales rose just 0.8%. But sales in North Dakota increased by a healthy 2.9%. And in Bismarck, North Dakota’s capital, home prices jumped 15.1%, compared to a year ago, to $161,600. That’s the highest increase for any metro area in the country.
Local real estate agents in North Dakota say the housing market has stayed strong because of the state’s robust economy, which has been bolstered by new investments in oil drilling and ethanol plants. And new home construction wasn’t as rampant during the boom as it was in the Florida, Las Vegas and California where builders now have started slashing prices to unload unsold homes.
Bismarck Realtor Terry Stevahn tells sellers not to get confused by national real estate reports.
“I tell them to ignore it because it is not pertaining to us,” Stevahn said.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.