When DHL left the Wilmington Air Park and thousands of jobs disappeared, local realtor Butch Peelle “knew it wasn’t going to be pretty” for the real estate profession.
He was right of course.
Looking back now, Peelle calls it “the longest life test I’ve ever been through. We went through six years of struggling to keep the office doors open.”
It was a very difficult time, with the Clinton County area receiving a “double hit,” he said, referring to the massive loss of air park jobs combined with a general economic downturn known as the Great Recession.
It also was a time when people were scared to build homes or apartments around here, Peelle said.
“We went through eight years when new houses weren’t built,” he said.
But things have improved.
The year 2016 was a banner year, he said.
“And last year  was the strongest year we and other real estate companies have had since the early ’90s when mechanics were falling out of the sky to work at Airborne,” said Peelle.
In particular, more young couples were getting into homes in the past 36 months than at any other time in the last 20 years, he said.
Probably Butch’s biggest passion since getting in the real estate business is helping people get into their first home because he knows how much it hurts to be turned away.
When he was a teacher at Wilmington Junior High School, he and his wife Dollie were trying to buy a home. They went to a loan officer and after sitting with him for about six minutes, “He just stood straight up and said ‘Well, if you people ever have any money, come back and see me.’ So that was our introduction to home ownership when I was teaching school and making $6,500 a year. And it hurt very deep.”
Twenty-five percent of the people who bought homes last year in the Clinton County area were coming from one of the villages or municipalities north of Cincinnati, remarked Peelle. Towns such as Loveland, Goshen, Morrow, Mason and Mariemont.
He believes that is because Warren County is “saturated,” with upper-scale prices, upper-scale grocers, upper-scale everything, he said.
These folks who moved to Clinton County bypassed Lebanon where 20 years ago they typically would have moved, said Peelle.
They’re willing to drive another 15 or 20 minutes to get into an area like Wilmington “which they’ve heard about, which is pretty nonjudgmental, which has pretty friendly people, and if you want to get out into the country you drive five minutes and you’re in a cornfield.”
Currently, interest rates are still excellent, said Peelle.
No money-down loans are available in Clinton County because it is designated as part of the Appalachian region. Income-wise, almost everybody around here qualifies for the no money-down loans, he said.
Peelle established Peelle & Lundy Realtors, Inc. with Ken Lundy in 1978.
For more information about the firm and its staff, please visit peelle-lundy.com .