But now the McPhersons are retired and plan to buy a new house and return to Anniston — just two of a surge of new homebuyers in the city this year.
“We put an offer in on a house in Anniston today,” McPherson said Thursday. “It really is a buyer’s market.”
According to the Alabama Center for Real Estate, Calhoun County home sales and prices jumped significantly in August. And some experts say the growth is part of an overall trend of sustained recovery in the state housing market.
“I think it’s just business has been improving for the most part,” said Everett King of ERA King Real Estate in Anniston. “If you look at the year, the market is just incrementally getting better.”
Housing markets across the country crashed in 2008, which led to an economic recession. They have struggled ever since.
Alabama Center for Real Estate statistics show state home sales were 6.5 percent higher in August compared to the same month last year. The year-to-date sales through August were up 7.6 percent compared to last year. Also, the statewide median sales price was in August was $127,383 — a 3.2 percent increase from last August and the sixth increase in the last 11 months.
Calhoun County numbers showed similar growth, with 103 homes sold in August compared to 93 sales for the same month last year. The county’s median sales price in August was $110,000 compared to $89,900 in August last year.
King said continued low interest rates and a tightening of inventory have helped spur home sales in recent months. He added that people are also no longer waiting to see how low prices will drop before they buy a home.
“The price dropping … that’s not happening anymore,” King said. “I think there is a sense of urgency creeping into the market.”
Leonard Zumpano, professor of finance at the University of Alabama and the chair of real estate economics for the Alabama Association of Realtors, said housing markets across the country are improving.
“I’m optimistic, I’ve been seeing it in reports the last few months,” Zumpano said of market growth.
According to the National Association of Realtors, sales in the U.S. housing market showed a 7.8 percent increase from the prior year.
“The market is just getting better, but it will probably slow as we get into the cold season, but that’s typical,” Zumpano said. “The next couple of months will probably be good and if the winter is mild, we could see some continued market growth.”
Zumpano noted that as the market continues to pick up, it will stimulate growth in housing construction jobs.
To Keivan Deravi, the improvement in the housing market is partially due to better management of foreclosed homes. Many homes went into foreclosure during the recession, resulting in a further depression of home prices and the housing market.
“Really, what is happening is banks are learning to manage inventory,” Deravi said. “The supply in houses has shrunk in a reasonable rate.”
McPherson said the one-story home he and his wife hope to own was a foreclosed property.
“We had looked at a number of homes,” McPherson said. “If someone wants to buy a home a little older that has good character, Anniston is the place.”
Star staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.