MANSFIELD -- Robin Walker wants people to be as excited about real estate as she is.
"Real estate is still a good investment," said the 2012 president of the Mansfield Association of Realtors. "The definition of investment is something that may be worth buying because it may be profitable or useful in the future.
"It is a good time to buy."
Walker said the market appears to be stabilizing after some rocky times, adding sales were up last year compared to 2010.
"I'm just excited by the year to come," she said.
Walker noted interest rates are at an all-time low.
"Our phones have been ringing," she said. "Usually, weather plays a role in real estate. When it's snowing, people don't really want to get out."
On March 1, Welcome Home grants will resume. To qualify for the money, people must not own a home.
Walker said Richland County is a prime location for homes because of its proximity to bigger cities.
"I can (live here) and work in Cleveland or work in Columbus," she said. "I can still live in a small town that is a great place to raise a family."
Research shows home sales could rise by 15 percent to 20 percent, based on people who are being approved for mortgages today versus those who were approved 10 years ago.
"A normal housing market would help fuel a continuing economic recovery, spur consumer spending and spawn more job creation," Walker said.
Walker said stabilizing and restoring the health of the housing market is critical to a broader economic recovery. Experts call for increasing lending to credit-worthy home buyers, as well as more loan modifications, refinancing and short sales to reduce foreclosures.
Walker encouraged people facing foreclosure to seek assistance.
"There's help available. If they want to keep their home, they can get help," she said. "Call a Realtor; we can help you. We do more than just help people buy and sell homes."