Home sales bounce back after bottoming out in 2011

MOXEE, Wash. -- KIMA is keeping up with trends in Yakima's housing market. It's the first time since the recession that home sales have seen a year-to-year increase.

Two homes along Cascade Avenue in Moxee sit empty. For sale signs hang in the front yard. Michele Kauffman is looking forward to new neighbors moving in one day.

"It's great for the city and for the county as far as growing," said Michelle Kauffman. "Especially around here. I think it's a great idea. The more people we have here the better."

Home sales are up for both Yakima County, like in Moxee and also the city of Yakima. It's the second straight year.

"We're certainly seeing more look than we did in 2010 for example," said Market Listing Service President Doug Rich. "And, frankly, we're getting a lot of people moving into this area for jobs."

More than 1,200 homes have been sold so far this year in Yakima County. The median sale price is $165,000. Realtors say the local market is beginning to rebound after bottoming out in 2011.

"These TV shows on how to property present your home or how to make these fantastic purchases in a tough market, that doesn't quiet measure up to reality," said Rich. "But, to say that there is opportunity to do research about houses, it's fantastic. It's never been this good."

Realtors also attribute the rise to technology. Buyers can research homes online before ever stepping inside. They can be savvy and choosy.

"People have jobs and have money," said neighbor Dwaine Morrison.

Real estate experts say it's a balance of both. And for 2014, Yakima is expected to remain a buyers' market.

Home sales peaked in the city and county in 2005. More than 2,500 homes were sold then compared to about half that this year.