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Old 05-09-2006, 08:18 AM
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Post High Prices Don’t Dissuade Home Buyers

If you're trying to buy a home, you know prices are soaring. Nationally, however, there are some signs the housing boom is slowing down.

Ryan Wagers and his wife took the leap into home ownership. They have been moving into their first home in the Providence subdivision of Mount Juliet.

“It will definitely be a stretch. We have yet to make our first mortgage payment, but we sat down and thought about it long and hard and worked out our budget,” he said.

They spent right around $220,000, but they're happy to see the house for sale beside them has already gone up $2,000 since they closed on their home.

“Buying here, I feel very confident. It’s a new development, and we're getting in on the front end,” Wagers said.

Judy Woodhall has been a realtor in Wilson County for 14 years, and she can't believe how prices are rising.

“It amazes me, no matter how high they are, people are still buying,” Woodhall said. “I don't see how it can continue, but I'm hopeful that it will.”

In fact, she said she worries about how first-time home buyers can even afford homes. In Wilson County, the average home sold for $183,000 last year. This year the average home goes for $224,000. That's a $40,000 difference in one year.

“It just makes you wonder what kind of occupations these people are going to have to have to be able to pay for their home,” Woodhall said.

It’s even crazier in Davidson County. Realtors insisted the bubble is not going to burst.

Realtor Richard Courtney doesn't think rising interest rates will cut prices. He proudly points to properties that have doubled in value in the last four years.

"Sales are down 5 percent nationally, but they're up 12 percent locally. So, we have a 17-percent swing on the rest of the country," Courtney said. “I wouldn't live in any other city in the world. I think we are the safest real estate investment in the country right now.”

Realtors said they believe prices will keep booming at rates that will surprise even them.

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