Moving into new year, housing market continues to struggle

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) You have to hit the bottom before things can start looking up.

What we've been going through this year was supposed to be the bottom of the housing market, and housing experts thought 2012 would be the turnaround, but as we look ahead to the new year, some are saying you shouldn't expect much to be new about it.

The market is moving in the right direction, but just not fast enough. Home values are likely to shed $681,000,000,000 at the end of this year, which is better than the $1,000,000,000,000 lost in 2010. Most experts don't expect housing prices to rise much next year, because there are just too many undervalued homes on the market right now. And as long as housing prices stay low, local markets like here in Horry County will not be able to recover.

These continuous low prices translate to low confidence as we inch closer to the new year. "So that has been really stressful," said realtor Craig Dierksheide. "I work with a lot of short sales, where people owe more than what their home is worth, and they're just trying to get out of that bad situation. So it's stressful but it's just part of the process. Part of the process to get on this mess and get on with a healthy market."

Realtors tell WMBF News Horry County is closing out 2011 right in the neutral zone. As it's a great time to buy so there are buyers, which is positive. But it's mixing with some negative- there are just too many homes on the market.

They say right now for every three foreclosed homes, only one is sold. Most of the sales activity involves single family residence homes, and they expect to see even more growth there.

With this step forward, there are steps back. While sales are up, the prices homes are going for has dropped nearly seven percent. These low ticket prices are because of the increased level of distressed sales happening in the county right now. And as long as these distressed sales keep rising, the value of your home will not.

Grand Strand residents say right now they're feeling the slump. "Where I live right now, we've had people buy at the top of the market. Well over almost 300 or 340 thousand," said resident Marshall Winger. "And now the same houses are selling for 240 or 230 thousand in the same neighborhood. I hope my house will eventually get back up to what I can get for it a couple of years ago."

Residents like Winger might be hoping for a while because research experts are saying it could be at least another year before residents will see their home values go back up.

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