Area housing market stays hot

New homes on the 900 block of Lafayette Street in Waterloo built by John Rooff.

WATERLOO — Home, at least the sales thereof, is where the heat is, according to real estate dealers in the area.Single-family detached home sales in Waterloo increased by 80 units in 2017, for a total of 953 — 9.06 percent higher than a year earlier, according to Dick Robert, a broker with Cedar Falls Real Estate Co. In Cedar Falls, the increase was “larger than expected,” Robert said, going up by 59, for a total of 561 in 2017. That was an 11.75 percent increase.

The average sale price in Waterloo fell 4.8 percent, from $121,269 to $115,445, Robert said, although, the Northeast Iowa Regional Board of Realtors had the figure at $114,000. In Cedar Falls, Robert said, the average sales price increased only .05 percent, from $271,393 in 2016 to $219,263. The Board of Realtors tabbed the average price there at $219,499.

It has been a hot market for some time, with average prices in Waterloo having increased by 212 percent since 1980 and 356 percent in Cedar Falls, said Mary Shileny, Board of Realtors’ executive director.

“The experts predict that the housing market will remain very strong, driven by the increase in households and household incomes,” she said. “The market restriction that may affect the 2018 market is low inventory. Overall, you can expect a small increase in number of sales and home prices.”

“I expect to do 5 to 6 percent (increase in sales) are my internal projections for residential,” he said. “We’ve obviously got a good strong local economy. I think a lot of people are looking at potential interest rate increase through ‘18 for at least a small amount, but they know it’s a good time to buy. I think people anticipating buying in the next couple of years have an incentive to buy more quickly and lock in that low interest rate.”

“Typically, we hold about 60; we’re double that,” he said. “Now, between Waterloo and Cedar Falls only, we have 130 buildable lots. So, our vision is that the Cedar Valley is going to be as strong as it has always been, a great place to live and work, the epitome of community. It really is where people want to call home and we’re happy to be a part of it.”

“With all the other growth in the downtown Cedar Falls area, if we can price some new products, we’ll move product down there because of the convenience of services nearby,” he said. “But I think with these younger people, they’re more driven to convenience and lifestyle. That’s a market in our area that’s on the ascendancy.”

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