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      Amarillo housing market continues recovery a step above the rest

      F or years, talk about the housing market has dominated the media. Nationally, recent home sales and new construction numbers have jumped up, indicating momentum in the housing recovery.

      That means even better news for citizens of Amarillo! The Texas Panhandle was spared from the worst of the economic downtown and the housing market crash. Now, the housing market in Amarillo is nearly at stable level.

      "Amarillo has consistently been a conservative market over the years, over the last 15 to 20 years," said Keller Williams Realty Broker David Grimes. "We haven't had the foreclosure rates that they have had in those areas of the country and we don't have the problems where people don't make those payments."

      Some of the better news for home buyers and sellers in Amarillo is the low interest rates, fairly stable appreciation rates and some of the Texas laws that protect homeowners when refinancing their home.

      "The Texas laws, first of all, prohibit people from refinancing their homes for more than what they're valued at," said Grimes. "We're looking at an average of about three and a half to four percent appreciation on our homes and we've had great interest rates for the last three to four years really," he added. "That made a big difference in what people can afford to buy."

      Grimes explained a balanced housing market usually consists of about six to six and a half months of home inventory at any given time.

      "The houses that you have sold at the current rate, it would take six months to liquidate those homes and so if it's there, then it's balanced," he said. "If you have less than that number then it's considered a sellers market."

      Currently, Amarillo has about five months worth of inventory, Grimes said. That means the market is slightly in favor of sellers. However, it's so close to being balanced, Grimes said, it's still a good time for folks in Amarillo to consider buying a home.

      "The average price of a home is well within the means of the average income of most people," Grimes said. "The average price is running about $155,000."

      About 1,900 homes have been sold in Amarillo so far this year.