Last year about this time when we were dangling on the edge of the financial chasm, many of us in the real estate industry were raising the red flags about the housing market. Yes, there were some Realtors, real estate companies and trade organizations (read: National Assn. of Realtors and National Home Builders Assn.) that were still, uh, shall we say shading reality because they were simply too afraid to shoot straight. They were afraid that if they told you the truth that it would all become a self fulfilling prophesy and it would make the markets worse. They did you a terrible disservice by not telling you the truth.
I would have preferred we just get the bad news out there and get past it. The sooner you as a consumer know the facts, the sooner you can deal with them. Oh no, we couldn't possibly do that. It may discourage someone from signing a listing agreement, buying a home or taking a job transfer which would require either or both of the first two from happening. So in the Fall of 2007 we were in the midst of a vast oversupply of inventory and a looming credit crunch and yet some just kept saying they were expecting a turnaround by mid 2008. As a result homeowners who had their homes on the market held out hope that things would get better this year. They delayed making price adjustments and artificially inflated what consumers would be have to pay for a home. Consumers spoke loudly and clearly:
"We will not buy that which isn't an incredible value and even then we're not going to jump without giving it a lot of thought"
That was in June. By August the fear and increasing rate of decline had escalated the buyer's tolerance level. Now, we're almost in total stagnation with where the markets are. Frankly there is incredible clarity in Today's New World of Real Estate at this moment in history.
If you are a seller and hope to get to the closing table, you had better be a fire sale or take your home off of the market. You will only hurt yourself by burning days on the market in an environment where cash is king and buyers are God. If you are a buyer, understand you are in this for the long haul. Real Estate is still a GREAT long term investment. Buy with care, pay incredible attention to lot and location and look ahead past the next 24 months and you will recognize what I've been saying for the last year:
Those that purchase now will look back in five years as having made one of the best investments of their lives.
That is unless Nancy Pelosi chooses to give another speech about who's fault this all is. Then all bets are off.
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