Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WHAT? - 27.2% Drop in House Sales. Who Knew?

Don't fall over in shock. 27.2% drop in housing sales and me blogging twice in one week, unheard of! But such shocking news being blasted everywhere requires this response!

Let me just say this, "Who Knew?" And the answer is, we did.

I'm just going to tell you I need to blow off some steam after listening to all the news reports yesterday. These same "reporters" were telling everyone in April, May and June that sales had made record increases over the previous year. As they were speaking then, I was yelling at my TV, "the 1st Time Home Buyer Credit stupid!" But did anyone listen. No! Especially not sellers.

Sellers heard the news and assumed the market was back. And for a moment, for some, it was. Unfortunately when most of us have visions of the market being back, it's at pre-2007 crash levels. The reality was, reporting those increases "over the previous year" referred to a market that was already way down in 2009.

So where are we today? While 27.2% sounds awful, it is simply a reflection of the 1st Time Home Buyer Credit ending. It's a reflection of a real estate market that is trying to normalize after being tampered with - again. It's a reflection of a real estate market that is often quieter in July because of families finishing up sports programs and taking vacations. And it's a reflection of a real estate market that is going to continue to decline a bit, until we clear out the distressed property inventory and improve the job picture.

And where does this leave you my friend? If you're a buyer, buy! You have 4% interest rates, home values that have nearly rolled back to pre-2000 pricing and inventory abounds. We even found that buyers buying now may do better on pricing than the value of the $8,000 tax credit. So what are you waiting for???? There is one caveat to buying, though. Buy with plans to be content in your home for about 12 - 15 years. No more musical houses!

If you're a seller, sell quickly. This market is projected to continue it's decline through 2012. Time is your enemy. To my Boomer friends, consider moving up your retirement plans. This is going to be a long slow recovery. Losing another chunk of your housing value, and then trying to down size in 5 - 10 years might not be the best plan. Call for my insights. My honey and I have been having long discussions over this very topic. Do you really want to vacuum the 2400sqft house when you're 65 and 70? How 'bout the weed-picking on the 1/4 ac lot? Think about it!

Think about it, you say. Let's be honest, these are confusing times. Most of us have never lived through an economic period like this. So when you hear this kind of news, CALL and get some good interpretation, and most of all, context for it. Your situation may call for action, or it may call for you to sit still. Either way, we're here as your Housing Counselors.

Lastly, don't be afraid. This housing market will correct itself when the job market improves. So lets put all our efforts and emotion into banging the drum on the legislative steps about JOBS. That's the key to cleaning up this mess.

Now - lets go have a glass of cyber-wine and take a deep breath!

Monday, August 23, 2010


WOW - it must have been summer, because time certainly got away from this amateur blogger!

That being said, what is going on in the real estate market now?? Everyday a person picks up a paper, listens to a news report or surfs the internet and finds nothing but confusion. Let me just say, it's not as confusing as it might seem. Most of the stories you hear or read carry little or no context, and certainly don't come from a local perspective.

Here's an example from just the past couple of months. Beginning in April 2010, reports were that sales were up. May, sales were up and, suprise, June sales were really up. Well no duh - it was the rush to close sales for the First Time Home Buyer Credit. Now, reports are that sales are down. Again I say, "Duh." First Time Home Buyer Credit is over!

So what should a buyer do? The burning question on everyone's mind is, "Should I buy now?" And let me respond ever so clearly, "YES!"

Well that sounds just crazy, doesn't it? And I have to be honest. I was having a hard time knowing whether to advise buyers to buy now or wait. That was, until I heard from an economist, that this is exactly the time you should be buying. Sound Crazy? Read further.

Only about once every generation (about every 35 years) does the gas literally go out of real estate values. Now I'm not talking a little 6 month downturn. I'm talking about an all out crash. In my most recent memory, this type of event has occurred during the Great Depression, In the late 70's/early 80's (remember 18% interest only - I do), and then now.

That gas going out is when your Aunt Tilly bought her home in San Diego for $9,000 and can now sell it for $350,000. That gas going out is when my Honey and I bought our first house in 1982 for $40,000 and it's now worth $200,000.

So what do you think this gas-out will bring? Combine these prices with a 4.5% interest rate and you've hit the jackpot baby!

But there's one little catch and this is where great Realtor's can help you with your buying decisions. That catch is the same one I've talked about before - changing your paradigm about what your house is. This home is a place for peaceful enjoyment, privacy and a place to build memories...for a VERY long time (read 15 - 20 years). It is no longer your ATM or the family's 3rd income earner. Contentment needs to reign supreme in your home.

Hope that helps. And now lets bring on the Fall!