WILLMAR -- Home sales in Willmar and in Kandiyohi County have remained relatively steady over the past 12 months, even as the national number of home resales surged by 10.1 percent during October.
Local Realtors interviewed earlier this month said buyers have been cautious.
"It's the uneasiness in the economy. It's not knowing if they have a job," said Betty Bollig, a broker with Counselor Realty.
The tax credit for first-time home buyers has been an incentive, however. Bruce Vogel of Lakes Area Realty said that extending it might even encourage more activity in the market.
"Some people were waiting to see what was going to happen -- if the government was going to extend the program," said Vogel, who is the incoming president of the West Central Realtors Association.
He said he expects residential real estate sales to remain steady in the next year.
"Prices are down some but not much," he noted.
"I think the stimulus program will help," Bollig agreed.
The busiest activity this past year has been among first-time home buyers, she said.
Interest rates are still low, and home values have been holding relatively steady, local real estate brokers said. On average, houses have been on the market for five to six months before selling.
"It has to be priced correctly in this market and it also has to be in good condition," Bollig said. "If that happens, we're seeing houses that are maybe on the market for two months."