Overextended mortgages resulting in massive home foreclosures within the last few years, are perhaps the one issue considered most responsible for the national economic downturn experienced both locally and at-large. The housing market was seriously damaged and the home building industry was severely damaged.

But things are warming up in the real estate market. The building industry is slowly but significantly thawing.

“The overall real estate market in the Pace and Milton areas has made a significance turn for the better in recent months,” according to Realtor Mark Cotton who is the Legislative Committee Liaison for the Santa Rosa Board of Realtors.

“Various sectors we have seen are: average sales prices moving upward; the average number of days properties are on the market reduced; and total inventories of homes on the market falling,” Cotton continued. “These three indicators are very good news not only for the health of our investments in our homes and other property, but also our local economy and the tax base supporting our schools, police, and all other public services.”

While market factors have played a role, politics has reared its ugly head even in the housing market.

“I think another contributing factor to our improve market is that of the release of ‘pent-up’ demand," Cotton said. "During the past couple of year’s politics, especially national polities, has gotten very ugly at times. Wherever there might have been some good news, it was overshadowed by reporting and political ads of gloom and doom, and bad news was made to look even worse than perhaps it was.

Consumer confidence has been affected by all the negativity and therefore potential homebuyers have tended to just stay put…and wait. Rather than move forward with their plans. So now that the political season is over (for a short while at least) people seem to be venturing out and getting back to business. After all, there is now no need to say, ‘I think I’ll wait until after the election.’

“Prices are low, and rates are still unbelievably low. In fact after almost 30 years in the real estate business, I think I have never seen a better time to buy real estate.”

Cotton also said the rental market has also been very healthy for those owning rental property. “We have expanded our property management division and fill our vacant home and apartments often within days,” he said “There are a number of people parked on the sidelines and renting, and I think many will be returning to home ownership as consumer confidence continues to return and as they see prices rising again instead of failing as they had in the past few years.”