By Chris Wright, The News On 6
UNDATED -- The number of homes that sold in July dropped dramatically across the nation and here in Green Country. But there is some new help coming for struggling homeowners.
The Obama Administration says it's working on financing for homeowners who are underwater and another program that will help the unemployed stay in their homes. But, the Housing and Urban Development Secretary says we can't just focus on the short-term and people who are buying.
"For too long our focus at the federal level was only on home ownership to the exclusion of rental. Home ownership is important, and we want to make sure people have access to home ownership, but we need to make sure we have decent, affordable rentals in this country as well," said Shaun Donovan, HUD Secretary.
Secretary Donovan expected a drop in sales when the home buyer tax credit ended, but nothing like 27 percent. Still, he says it's too soon to say if the administration will consider reviving the tax credit.
The numbers for July were even more drastic in Green Country. Home sales dropped 39 percent when compared to the same month in 2009.
Experts say the Tulsa area has, for the most part, been able to avoid the housing problems that have plagued many other markets. So they hope these latest numbers are a fluke and not the beginning of a trend.
Despite the brand new fixtures, a feature story earlier in August on The News On 6 and a unique For Sale sign, Jeramy Risenhoover's Midtown home is still on the market.
"All my money's in this house," said Risenhoover. "Everything I've got is in this house. So yeah, I'm desperate. That's why I've said ‘pretty please, pretty please.'"
Risenhoover is not alone. Tulsa and its surrounding counties experienced a nearly 40 percent drop in July home sales when compared to July 2009.
"People are worried about their jobs, about keeping their jobs. Because of that, they're not out there buying right now," said Johnnie Cherblanc, Detrick Realty.
Realtor Johnnie Cherblanc believes some of the drop could be due to the expiration of the new home buyer tax credit. He also says that Green Country may no longer be able to avoid national trends.
"Unfortunately, when the rest of the country does their thing, it finally filters down into Tulsa," said Cherblanc.
Cherblanc says homes priced at $150,000 and lower are stilling well.
Plenty of people were hunting for a bargain Sunday at a home that will be auctioned this week.
"The people are motivated to sell, it's going to sell. You want a house on this street, you want to be here," said Cherblanc.
Risenhoover is confident someone will agree to his asking price as long as he continues to be cordial about it.
"I've got my blood, sweat, tears and cash in this house. Pretty please buy my house. I'm just asking nicely," Risenhoover said.
A more encouraging number is total home sales for the entire year. They are only down 3.7 percent when compared to the first seven months of 2009 in Green Country.