CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As real estate markets nationwide continue to show growth and recovery, West Virginia's market remains stable.
"The funny part about Charleston and the whole state, we don't really reflect national trends," said Ray Joseph, chief executive officer of the West Virginia Association of Realtors.
"We don't face the highs and lows," Joseph said. "It doesn't mean we're perfect. It just means we didn't see the giant jumps and drops."
According to date from the company CoreLogic, there were 52,000 completed foreclosures across the country in May 2013, down from 71,000 in May 2012. West Virginia ranked fourth lowest in completed foreclosures with 517 in a 12-month period ending in May 2013.
Joseph said West Virginia did not have enough foreclosures to negatively impact the regional market. However, because of the Eastern Panhandle's proximity to the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area, their market looks more like the national market, he said.
In Charleston, home prices, including distressed homes or homes sold at a discount, increased by 3.2 percent in May 2013 compared to May 2012. In that same time period, homes nationwide, including distressed sales, increased 12.2 percent.
"One of the most positive signs we've seen in Charleston and across the state is lower inventory [of homes for sale]," Joseph said. "The large inventory we had a few years ago is fading."
Peter Minter, director of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development field office in Charleston, believes housing starts in the Charleston area.
"I think it would take a major employer moving in to trigger building new housing developments, because there is a significant supply of houses on the market in the Charleston area," Minter said. "There has to be incentives for developers to go in and develop."
As West Virginia's population continues to age, Minter would like to see more one-story homes constructed.
"Real estate was never intended to be a short-term, high-yield investment, and unfortunately a few years ago people were treating it as short-term, high-yield investment and it came crashing down," Minter said. "It's still one of the few ways to wealth for moderate income households."
West Virginia ranks in the 85 percent for nationwide homeownership, but Joseph does not think Charleston's market is stagnant. Several older buildings in downtown Charleston were renovated into apartment complexes that Joseph views as being successful. Additionally, new industry in the state is impacting the market.
"The oil and gas has also contributed to the housing boom," Joseph said. "More on the rental side than purchase side."
Oil and gas workers renting or purchasing homes that Joseph has seen are in the middle of the state.