Santa comes to Lufkin early with record breaking holiday home sales

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Santa is making his list and checking it twice for new home buyers. For sale signs have been popping up left and right all over Angelina County and realtors say home sales have hit a five year high for the first time in the past seven years.

"We have a unique situation here. We have a lot of professionals that transfer in and out of Lufkin all the time," Tim Brookshire, a realtor for American Real Estate, said.

Brookshire says there are a lot of professionals that come to Lufkin to work at the hospitals and different companies. So when its time for them to relocate back out of the community, home sales have a large turnover.

"The average number of properties that come onto the market are typical for this time of the year and is pretty consistent with our numbers last year," Michael Bryan, a realtor for Century 21 Bryan Realty Inc., said.

In fact, active home sales have increased from 508 to 530 for 2013 and the average sales price has gone up about 5 percent, Bryan says.

He adds that one of the main reasons why you are seeing more for sale signs pop up in neighborhoods is because people are finally getting over the fear of the government shutdown and realizing its time to put their house on the market to beat out those competitive prices.

Even so, home prices have also increased by 12 percent, Brookshire said.

"Even with the little slump we've had we've seen prices go back up. We've seen sales increase and at any given time there is probably three or four hundred houses on the market in our county," Brookshire said.

Sales have also increased from 618 to 637, Bryan adds.

"We see about 22 to 23 percent of the closings occur in the fourth quarter and we see that year over year," Bryan said.

Brookshire says Christmas time is actually a great time to put your home on the market.

"Most people think, well, I'll wait until summertime to sell my property but what you got to realize is that is what everybody else is thinking too so by waiting later to put your house on the market, you're just increasing the competition," Brookshire said.

It's the competitive prices, Brookshire said, you want to beat out just in time for Santa's arrival. One of the things that have not increased this year is new sales, which have gone down from 1032 to 1006. Yet, realtors say Lufkin is a big retirement community and that number is likely to increase by next year.

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