I just returned from The Realty Alliance Conference which was held in Atlanta. The Realty Alliance is comprised of sixty-two of the leading real estate companies in the country. We gather together twice each year to share ideas and to hear from various speakers who address a broad range of issues affecting our industry.
The best part of these meetings is the wonderful opportunity we all have to network with each other and to meet in our smaller “forum groups.” Within these groups we brainstorm issues, share best practices, good ideas, marketing strategies and market conditions as well. It is always interesting to get the perspective of the owners and operators of top companies outside of our own little fish bowl.
At the conclusion of our forum meeting the leader of our group asked each person to give a one word answer to describe the emotion they were feeling at the end of three very intense days of meetings. The answers went along these lines…optimistic, hopeful, and energized! The reason…no matter what region of the country we hailed from we all were seeing signs of a recovering real estate market.
Foreclosures and short sales are still a challenge for most markets helping to contribute to the downward pressure on home prices. However, there are bright spots that we all seemed to share in common all across the country.
Inventory is inching downward particularly in the lower price ranges creating the long forgotten multiple offer scenario. Rents are on the rise making leasing in many cases more costly than home ownership. Whether one is a tenant or an investor, now is the time to buy! According to the Mortgage Bankers Association interest rates are not expected to rise appreciably until the first quarter of 2013…it is an election year after all! CoreLogic’s chief economist Mark Fleming was quoted recently in Steve Harney’s blog that, “Since the peak in home prices, mortgage rates have declined and affordability has risen dramatically. Housing affordability is at levels not seen since prior to the early 1990’s.” And, Fannie Mae economist, Doug Duncan said, “Conditions are coming together to encourage people to want to buy a home.” Imagine our naysaying economist with something positive to say about real estate!
My colleagues and I had a bit of a spring in our steps as we left Atlanta. Regardless of the trends or the forecasts that we watch so carefully what we truly trust is our deep and abiding faith in the tenacity, and resilience of our agents, management and staff to weather any storm. The rainbow is always there just behind the clouds… if we look hard enough.
Have a successful week!
Gail H . Coleman
Vice President & General Manager