Realtors glad to see rebound in home sales

Monday, December 3, 2012

As the year winds down, local Realtors are pleased to see that for the second consecutive year the number of homes sold in the Cape Girardeau County area has increased.

"That's a trend we needed to see return," said Bill Cole, president of the local Multiple Listing Service and broker/owner of Realty Executives in Cape Girardeau.

The number of homes sold is up 7 percent year to date compared to 2011, with 723 homes sold so far this year, according to MLS statistics. That's 48 more homes sold than in the same time period last year.

Prices are on the rise too, with the median home price up 3.5 percent to $133,000 this year from $128,500 last year.

Also good news, foreclosures are down. About 7 percent of this year's home sales are foreclosures or bank-owned properties, compared with 14 percent last year.

Upper-end home sales continue to lag, as they have the past few years, Cole said.

The increase in both home sales and mortgage refinancing has kept the Cape Girardeau County Recorder of Deeds office busy in 2012. To date in 2012, it has recorded in excess of 400 documents more than 2011. for a total of 14,921 documents, said Scott R. Clark, recorder of deeds.

It appears those in the housing industry are feeling more confident, and nationwide home sales are 11 percent higher than they were a year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors.

An index of builder sentiment compiled by the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo rose to 46 this month, up from 41 in October. It was the highest reading since May 2006, just before the housing bubble burst.

With more people now interested in purchasing a home, we can expect home construction during the next year or two to pick up even more.

* Work began last week on a new sports bar and restaurant in Jackson. Wings, etc. is set to open in February in the former Movie Gallery location on East Jackson Boulevard.

Owner Joe Hobbs grew up in the restaurant business, working in his family-owned country kitchen in Atlanta. He and his wife Michelle owned a submarine sandwhich shop in Florida before moving to Jackson, his wife's hometown. Most recently he worked at Logan's Road House. When the couple began looking at restaurant franchise opportunities.

Hobbs said the vibe was right with Wings, etc. The franchise had its start in South Bend, Ind., and is known for jumbo wings with 18 sauce choices. Its menu also offers ribs, burgers, salads and wraps.

"Everybody has been crying about needing a sports bar in Jackson for years," Hobbs said. "The casualness and family-oriented fun of Wings, etc. was the right fit."

Extensive interior renovations are under way and a patio will be added this spring.

The restaurant, as was the one he grew up working in, will be a family affair. Children Allison and Austin Hobbs also will help with the business. He expects to hire 40 to 50 employees. The Hobbses hope to be open in mid-February. You can follow their progress at Facebook.com/wingsetcjackson or on at twitter.com/wingsetcjackson.

Southeast Missourian Business Editor Melissa Miller can be reached by email at mmiller@semissourian.com or by phone at 388-3646.

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