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Why Battleground-State Housing Might Help Romney

North Carolina (15 electoral votes)

North Carolina Association of Realtors chief Lou Baldwin believes the Tar Heel State's housing market bottomed out over the past year and has entered a rebound period.

"Some parts of the state are doing better than others, but we're seeing a good general trend of 12% to 15% year-over-year improvement in [sales volume]," he says. "And we're seeing stabilization in home prices, if not a small tick upward."

The latest monthly figures show that 9,521 North Carolina houses changed hands in August -- a 21% gain from a year earlier. Average prices did fall 1% from August 2011 to reach $197,519, but that's still 7.8% above the market's February bottom of $183,260.

Average prices are still 14.9% below a $231,974 peak hit in June 2007, though.

Baldwin believes North Carolina voters probably care more about the state's 9.7% jobless rate.

"I think we have a lot of swing voters who are still weighing out which candidate they believe can help with the unemployment issue," Baldwin says. "They're going to vote based on jobs and figure the real estate market will follow."
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