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Glut of home listings fails to materialize yet



Published: Sun, September 10, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Many people thinking about selling their homes might wait until spring, a Realtor said.

By ED RUNYAN

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

One Mahoning Valley real estate company has seen a modest increase in home listings in the past 30 days, but not the increases the company expected after about 3,100 Delphi Packard workers accepted buyouts.

"The people we're seeing are staying local, buying down or moving to get city utilities," said Yvonne Smith, president of the Eaton Group/GMAC Realty of Howland, Boardman and Middlefield.

She has seen only a 4 percent increase in home listings in the areas her offices cover, she said.

Smith said she expected to see a large increase in listings, especially in higher-end neighborhoods where Delphi employees might be expected to live, but it hasn't happened. Such examples would be Timber Creek in Bazetta Township and Avalon Estates in Howland Township, she said.

"Most people are in a pretty good position with regard to their homes," Smith said of Delphi workers taking the buyout.

Training given

She said she trained agents -- starting six months ago -- in how to help sellers make good decisions when they sell their home, because it appeared the job losses might create a "buyer's market." Her company handles relocations for most GM and Delphi workers because of the tie-in with GMAC, she said.

Workers close to retirement age don't appear to be preparing to leave the area or sell their homes. With buyout amounts added to their retirement plan, many of them are simply retiring sooner than they had expected, she said.

General Motors' Lordstown complex also offered retirement incentives and buyouts this year, and eliminated a shift.

Patty Massare, an owner of Century 21 Prestige Realty Group, which has offices in Salem and Canfield, said it appears it's too soon for Delphi or GM workers in Mahoning and Columbiana counties to have made decisions about relocating or selling their homes.

Massare said she knows people who are taking a buyout, but they are not discussing any changes in their residence.

Eaton Group/GMAC's Smith noted that some people leaving Delphi are coming to her interested in becoming real estate agents. They are happy to have the opportunity to move into a new career field, she said.

Smith said it is possible many people thinking about selling their homes will wait until the spring to give themselves more time to think about what they want to do.

Younger sellers

The Delphi workers who appear to be ready to sell their homes are younger ones trying to stay local and find another job. She has seen some examples of this trend, she said.

Meanwhile, Smith looks forward to the possibility that workers will be coming to Trumbull County from areas such as Pittsburgh to fill jobs that apparently will be available because of the number of Delphi workers who took the buyout.

On the other hand, residents concerned about their septic systems seem to be ready to act now. "They're trying to avoid the extra costs because of the new regulations coming next year," Smith said, adding that there appears to be a higher number of listings in areas such as Bristol, Mecca and Southington.

The result has been more interest in moving to sewered areas such as Cortland, Bazetta and Champion, she said.

Smith said the opinion she's hearing from homeowners with septic systems is that selling will rid them of "the unknown."

runyan@vindy.com




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