To kick off the spring season and bring buyers and sellers together, the Carbon County Association of Realtors is participating in Realtor Nationwide Open House Weekend this Sunday.

This is an opportunity for potential buyers to take advantage of plentiful inventory and record-breaking housing affordability conditions.

During the weekend, realtors across the country will hold thousands of open houses from coast to coast, aiming to focus attention on the benefits of homeownership for individuals, families, communities and our nation's economy. This event is also an opportunity for realtors to connect with consumers in the local community about the housing issues that matter most to them.

"Realtors will hold open houses in various neighborhoods throughout Carbon County on Sunday to provide guidance for potential buyers and answer questions about the local housing market, as well as the home buying and selling process," said Carbon County Association of REALTORS Vice President Lisa Sawyer. "If you are interested in purchasing a home, visiting open houses is a great way to get an idea of what you can afford in certain neighborhoods, as well as a taste for what is on the market."

The National Association of Realtors 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers shows that 45 percent of all buyers used open houses as a source in their home search process. This figure suggests the value of open houses even in the Internet era. Women are more likely to use open houses than men, as are buyers who were not born in the U.S. or whose primary language is not English. NAR also reports that older buyers rely more on open houses than younger buyers, and buyers with higher incomes are also more likely to visit open houses.

"Realtors visit hundreds – if not thousands – of homes with buyers each year, and have a unique understanding of what buyers can afford in our local market," said Carbon County Association of REALTORS President Jim Zurn. "Homeownership helps builds financial security over the long term. It's an investment in your future, as well as the future generations to come."

NAR also recently reported that more renters than ever aspire to become homeowners and an overwhelming majority of Americans believe buying a home is a solid financial decision. Homeownership is even more attractive now with housing affordability conditions reaching their highest level since recordkeeping began in 1970.

The housing affordability index, which is based on the relationship between the median home price, median family income and the average mortgage interest rate, reached 206.1 in January, the first time the index broke the two hundred mark. The higher the index, the greater the household purchasing power. This means the typical family has roughly double the income needed to purchase a median-priced home.

"The housing market may not have fully recovered yet, but it's showing signs of improvement and for many buyers, now really is a great time to purchase a home," said Zurn. "Buyers who are willing and able to take on the responsibilities of homeownership can begin their home search process by attending Realtor Nationwide Open House Weekend and learn more about homeownership and local housing issues."

A full listing of homes that will be open on April 29 from 12-3 p.m. can be found in the TIMES NEWS Saturday edition.