Real Estate and the dog days of summer. Let's face it...the real estate market is a tough place right now. For those of us who love what we do, we're in it for the long haul. It just doesn't change the reality that nationally and locally we're in a very difficult time. That translates several ways. First, nearing the bottom of the trough, it is a good time to buy. There are exceptional opportunities out there that will pay huge dividends down the road as an investment but you must have vision. Selling right now takes backbone and the courage to make smart, strategic decisions. There is no logic to the market. Some homes that are not, at first glance, competitive sell quickly. Good homes that should sell, sit. Should one attempt to market their home at this point in time? First and beyond that always translates into personal need. If your circumstances dictate a move, then do so in an intelligent, aggressive way. This is no time for greed so if you need to sell, be practical.

Long term rates edge down. For a change last week, long term rates came down to more attractive levels. Long-term mortgage interest rates were down Friday, and the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond yield slipped to 4.68%. The 30-year fixed-rate average fell to 6.23 percent, and the 15-year fixed rate sank to 5.91 percent. The 1-year adjustable held steady at 5.51 percent. The 30-year Treasury bond yield was down at 4.87 percent.

Is the stock market surge over the last 9 months really that surprising? Face it, with real estate numbers slumping all over the U.S., it's not rocket science that since last fall the markets have set record highs. Investors wanted a place to put their money and it wasn't going to be in the real estate market. Watch this carefully over the long haul. When we see a trend that has money consistency leaving the markets for real estate, we may be on our way back up in property value and demand. The last few weeks have demonstrated volatility in the stock market based on one major issue: credit. From the sub prime mortgage problem which is now in the 2nd inning of a 9 inning game to the more recent "A minus" lending downturn, there is a significant credit issue with our housing market that will affect us into 2008.

Property tax issues will remain for a number of Indiana counties through the early part of 2008. Most people think that as Governor Mitch Daniels suspended property taxes to the 2006 level, we were out of the tax nightmare. Wrong. We've suspended our problems, not fixed them. Those reassessments will be back in early 2008 shortly before the 2007 taxes kick in. This whole thing is still very much in flux. From the inside we're hearing that Marion County's problems may be solved by a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 solution. That is a 1/3 higher residential tax than '06, some form of a consumption tax that will cover 1/3 of the previous tax increase and finally 1/3 higher assessments on business locations that saw virtually NO increase in valuation in the previous numbers. Stay tuned......

National Housing Numbers eyeing the future?
According to First American's CoreLogic which tracks national real estate trends,

"House-price acceleration -- the rate of change in home prices, whether up or down -- is also moderating after 18 months of decline, evidence that downward price trends at the national level are nearing bottom.

Further, prices were still rising in eight of the 10 markets identified by CoreLogic as the highest risk. The highest-risk markets were: Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, Mich. (-.46 percent appreciation); Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, Mich. (1.21 percent); Memphis, Tenn. (6.63 percent); Youngstown-Warren Boardman, Ohio-Penn. (4.8 percent); Dayton, Ohio (4.42 percent); Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich. (1.55 percent); Toledo, Ohio (1.66 percent); Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio (4.89 percent); Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind. (-3.5 percent); and Akron, Ohio (6.14 percent).

Prices continued to rise in all 10 markets identified by CoreLogic as those with the lowest risk: Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, Fla. (2.51 percent appreciation); Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla. (4.19 percent); West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton, Fla. (3.97 percent); Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano-Deerfield Fla. (5.57 percent); Washington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria, Va. (3.51 percent); Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va. (9.18 percent); Richmond, Va. (7.12 percent); Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Fredericksburg, Md. (2.45 percent); Salt Lake City, Utah (12.96 percent); and Honolulu, Hawaii (7.87 percent).