After a slow start, housing market picks up

TRI-CITIES, Wash. - It was a slow start to the new year when it comes to the Tri-Cities housing market, but realtors expect that to turn around.

Aaron Piper is on the hunt for a new home.

"We have five kids, so we needed a bigger house," said Aaron Piper.

The family currently lives in a Richland apartment complex, they're finally ready to make the leap into home ownership.

"Buying a house is a big purchase, we all get freaked out buying a car, let alone a house that's $100 to $200,000," said Piper.

Local agents say home sales started slow for the year. The first quarter numbers show a decrease in almost 40 home sales compared to the same time period last year.

"I don't know what the reason for the inactivity was the first couple months, but it's back, people are back doing their thing, we're right back where we should be," said local realtor, Travis Davis.

With fewer houses up for sale, realtors say it is very much a sellers' market, something that Aaron and his family were not prepared for.

"More of a buyers' market, never expected inventory to be as low as it was, but we knew for us it was time," said Piper.

Realtors expect the pace to pick up, they're predicting a 5% boost in total sales by year's end. The number of homes under contract so far this month already outpace all of April last year.

"Spring time has always been a great time to list, grass is greener, flowers are coming at your house is at the best it can possibly be at that moment and you start to see the listings," said Davis.

And for the Piper family, they are hoping this purchase pays out in the future.

"We can hold onto it long enough and do enough to it, we can really make back on our investment at the end of the day as well," said Piper.

Local agents say that interest rates are improving, dropping slightly from the end of last year to the low 4%'s.