Weather Forecast


Mitchell area house market warming

The number of houses for sale in the Mitchell area is dropping. (Sean Ryan/Republic)

Denny Robinson is hoping the arrival of spring means more houses to sell.

Robinson, manager of Fischer, Rounds and Associates Inc., a real estate office in Mitchell, said the number of houses for sale in Mitchell and the surrounding area is slightly lower than last year, when the market was already short of options.

There were 159 houses for sale in the area as of Friday, and more than 20 of those already had sales pending, according to Robinson.

The Mitchell Board of Realtors website had houses listed in a wide range of towns Friday afternoon, including Wessington to Robinson. There were 298 houses sold in the area in all of 2013, up 26 percent from 2012.

The average price of houses sold in the area this year is $112,815, which is within $100 of last year’s average price.

“I think you’re going to find that’s going to be higher at the end of the year,” Robinson said.

If more houses come on the market in the coming months, the pace at which houses are being sold could slow because buyers will have more to choose from, Robinson said.

The number of houses for sale across South Dakota has also declined recently.

According to Gayle Chapel, president of the South Dakota Association of Realtors, the state’s inventory was down nearly 23 percent in March.

But in contrast to the trend in Mitchell, houses for sale across the state have taken longer to sell on average.

In March, Chapel said the average house sold in the state spent 108 days on the market, compared with 89 days during the same month a year ago.

The weather may be partly to blame for the slow pace, Chapel said, as many houses have been sitting, waiting to be sold the entire winter.

“If they’re priced right, they’re selling quickly,” she said.

As the weather improves, Chapel, like Robinson, expects activity in the housing market to pick up.

“I foresee more houses coming on the market,” she said. “That will definitely make a difference.”

Robinson said the local housing market has gotten better as the local economy has continued to improve in the wake of the recession. Home buyers in Mitchell and the surrounding region seem to have more stable jobs and reliable incomes than they have in the past, Robinson said.

“If houses are selling, it’s good for everybody,” Robinson said. “It means your local economy is doing well.”

At the end of last year, the number of new and existing houses sold nationwide was on the rise.

An estimated 428,000 Springs, Howard, Pickstown and Tripp, among others.

But after a long, cold winter, Robinson is expecting the market to improve with the weather.

“It’s been a long winter and people are really tired of it,” Robinson said in an interview Friday with The Daily Republic. “There is always an influx of houses in spring and they may not have come on the market yet.”

With fewer choices, especially among reasonably priced single-family starter homes, Robinson said buyers have been quick to commit when they find a house in their price range. The average house sold in Mitchell and the surrounding area this year spent 121 days on the market, compared with 142 days last year.

“As soon as they fi nd one, they’re buying one,” Robinson said.

As of Thursday, 49 houses had been sold so far this year in Mitchell and the surrounding area according new homes were sold in the U.S. in 2013, up 16.4 percent from 2012, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

In January, sales of new homes reached a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 455,000, up from a rate of 441,000 in December.

That pace appears to have slowed in February as preliminary data shows a rate of 440,000, down 3.3 percent from January.

The pace of new home sales in the Midwest has gone against the national trend, having risen from an annual rate of 49,000 in January to an annual rate of 67,000 in February, about a 36.7 percent increase.

According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, 5.09 million existing homes were sold nationwide in 2013, up 9.1 percent from 2012 and the most since 2006, when sales skyrocketed to an unsustainable high of 6.48 million.

In February, existing homes were being sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.6 million.

That’s the lowest rate since July 2012 and a 5.5 percent decline from December.