Covering East Alabama: Auburn Housing Market Boom

Normally you wouldn't see upgrades like granite countertops, stainless appliances,  and wood floors in a new home under $200,000, but now it's what builders like Bobby Cannon are having to do to sell their homes in Auburn.

Cannon says, "I think it's caused a strain on contractor to have to put in these upgrades into a home to make it more attractive to buyers and we end up making less money. I'll probably build more homes this year, and make less than I did last year."

Why?  Experts say it's because the Auburn housing market is saturated.  Last year, 380 homes were on the market. This year the number has nearly doubled to 630.

"3 or 4 years ago, I was selling as soon as I put the slab up," Cannon adds.

The sellers market is no more.  It's all about attracting the buyer.

Auburn realtor, Tara Starr, says, "You see builders offering closing costs, fencing, some assistance on a down payment. We have been blessed, haven't had to offer that to move property, but is this a bad thing?"

Not if you're a buyer, but if you're trying to sell your home, you have to compete.

Starr adds, "You can't just throw them out there anymore.  You have to get your home ready prior to putting them on the market, do those paint touch ups, refinish the front door, stuff to make your home stand out."

Still, prices shouldn't drop.  With the rising costs of building supplies and land, contractors have very little wiggle room.  Auburn realtors and contractors say it will continue to be a buyer's market for a while, but they also say the market is never that bad for builders because new businesses are moving to Auburn every day and the university always brings in people.

The latest national survey shows that across the country, home construction is at its slowest rate since 2004.  Here in the Montgomery area, local realtors dispute the national survey's findings indicating local building hasn't slowed that much.

Reporter: Elizabeth White