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Water Crisis Hasn't Affected Real Estate Market Yet

Reported: Feb. 23, 2014 6:41 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 23, 2014 7:48 PM EST

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CHARLESTON, W.Va (Katy Brown) -- Since the water crisis started, we've heard concerns of living in West Virginia and threats of leaving the state, but at least so far, the real estate market isn't seeing that happen.

In fact, this winter has seen an increase in people interested in buying a home, even despite the water crisis.

"The past 8 weeks have actually been better than these 8 weeks in 2013," real estate agent John Hicks said. "We've seen home prices go $120,000 up to $130,000."

There is one thing that's changed.

While potential home buyers are always asking a lot of questions, a new one realtors are asked more these days is, "Who provides the water?"

Even still, it doesn't seem to be changing people's perceptions about making a move.

"If I say it's American Water, it does not change their mind about the house," Hicks said.

But some people in Charleston said the water crisis has definitely changed their mindset.

"We're actually getting used to the fact that we have to drink bottled water and brush our teeth with bottled water," Jason Vance said. He said bottled water has just become a part of everyday life.

When it comes to home buying though, some things don't change.

Real estate agents like Hicks said people usually move into new homes to be closer to work or schools.

And so far, those decisions aren't impacted by the problems with the water.

"There's only been one who said that and he lives out in Cabell County," Hicks said. "I've not heard a single person in Kanawha or Putnam County say that they're going to be moving because of the water issues."

As for Vance, he plans to stay put and thinks most other people will too.

"I don't think anybody's going to leave because of it,” Vance said. “We're West Virginians. We can handle just about anything."

Hicks said there have been other things that have affected the local housing market in the past, like flooding concerns.

But at least for now, the water crisis doesn't seem to be having a negative impact on home buying and selling.

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