Tuesday, December 19, 2006

St George Utah Heritage

St George Utah - A Special Place!

St George Utah is a special place to live. Tis the season to be grateful for our men and women in arms, this free country where we enjoy so many privileages and to those who have gone before- our Pioneers! We have many like kind individuals in our midst... civic, business, church and in our community, giving that the rest of us may have life more abundantly. Yes, it is our heritage to follow in their footsteps and find our own pioneer in us.
Special Event
Southern Utah Heritage Choir Heritage Week Fireside January 14, 2007.
In commemoration of Heritage Week, the Heritage Choir will present a Fireside at the St. George Tabernacle on Sunday, January 14, 2007, at 7:30 pm. Under the direction of Keith Bradshaw and Nancy Allred, the choir will be joined by the Heritage Brass in presenting music to remind us of those who first settled the St George Utah area and built a strong foundation for those who live here now. They, the builders of the Nation, This Good Earth, Redeemer of Israel, Where can I Turn for Peace, A Gaelic Blessing, and Let Zion in Her Beauty Rise are just a few of the songs for the evening. The fireside is under the direction of the Heritage Week Committee and will feature a speaker as well as music from the choir. This concert is free to the public.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

2006 in Review: Market at Large vs. St George Utah Real Estate

The Real Estate Market at Large

2006 was the year of market correction. All the signs were there, we should have known even more that with double digit appreciation gains, what goes up, did go down. The first signs started at the end of 2005. But altogether, we have not experienced a bust, even though many, especially the media was apt to point towards a bubble bursting.


Many real estate markets in the country still experienced above average sales. Yet this market has morphed into a buyers market. The decrease in sales has led to layoffs in mortgage companies and other industry participants. Investors had only encouraged other like-kind thinking- people were moving and considering it as their investment.

Nicolas Retsinas, director of Harvard University's Joint Center of Housing Studies makes a good case that while prices and the market are normalized, that it was the media and not higher interest rates that made is so, inciting an analogy of a match that is lit that becomes hard to extinguish in lieu of all the appreciation and possible mentality of a bursting bubble that was to come.

Interest rates have not really gone up all that much as compared to past cycles. However, interest rates do cast a singular variable potentate upon how home prices can get affected from here. Unconventional mortgage products widened the funnel in recent past, that added to the price increases. With the increase of supply of homes on the market, some have given thought to the idea that some of these unconventional loans contributing to supply, with perhaps setting up more consumers for foreclosure possibilities in the face of fixed rates that change to variable rates in the beginning of this next year. However, the before mentioned Restinas, cites how many appear to be compensating already by just refinancing to more conventional loans. Also Edward learner, director for the University of California, Anderson Forecast says that a lot of home owners can even still rely on an "appreciation cushion", that a profit is still in store should they decide to sell.

The overall economy is stronger than when we were in the fervor of price appreciation. Kenneth Jenny, CEO and managing partner for real estate consulting company tranCen said "The market itself has become right-sized. A right-sized market doesn't allow quick, inflationary numbers." Flippers have largely left the market taking away the frenzy that existed during the boom. Affordability is a problem in some markets, which oversupply and sagging sales will take care of that problem.

St George Utah Real Estate

The St George Real Estate market has been affected pretty similarly. As a strong place to do business, rated one of the safest places to live, one of the best places to retire, etc. St George is not projected to suffer for too long amidst perhaps a little blip that may be an ongoing experience into this next year.

Our unique situation, as well as I have been able to glean from reports through colleagues who have seemed to have had their finger on things in the past, report that just before the "word got out" about this high mountain desert, almost resort atmosphere of a town, the city had restricted or had been back-logged- anyway the housing supply or number of building permits allowed was restricted. Well, when the frenzy hit, we were not prepared with supply. Perhaps this had something to do with..., and largely from hindsight... the market had the fourth fastest appreciation rates in the country.

As a result of this most recent decline, "life-stylers", retirees, and baby-boomers , have been put up on their feet for a bit, making wise or "sage" pause toward inaction. This population group constituted a good influx of our buyers. We have experienced, maybe more than average price reductions, if not comparable to the rest of the nation at large. While many have been skeptical of buying here, the stagnation hits into our "snowbird" season too; making for an element of temporary uncertainty. But amazingly people with money- namely a few retirees and baby boomers, those who are "late bloomers" in hearing about he attraction of St George, most likely will not be kept at bay forever.

But the average "Joe" that sustains the working class, to including our teachers, policeman and city workers, have long awaited these price reductions and locals have shown a resilience in holding off the buying pattern. So houses under 250K to 300K, are likely great realms for builders to downsize to, if we are talking about "real" supply. That is your eye on the St George Ut real estate market and the market at large for 2006!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

St George Ut Real Estate Total Sales Related to Homes Sales Nation Wide

Home Sales Nation Wide
Home sales nation wide have teadily declined according to a Pending Homes report or index designed by the National Association of Realtors to be a leading index reflecting what the market is doing. We've gone from 124 units in October of 2005 to about 107 units in October 2006, about a -14% nation wide and -17.4% for the Western states.
Total Sales in St George Ut
For St George Ut Real Estate or Washington County, total sold listings, which includes commercial, residential and lots have gone from 435 in October of 2005 to 329 in October of 2006, according to local Washington County Board of MLS reporting statistics, which would be about a -24% reduction in total sales.
Comparing Tatal Sales Locally to the Home Sales Nationally
We recognize we are comparing House Sales Nationally with Total Sales locally and we do this only because this is the only graphical information we have on hand. It helps to see, that the national downward trend in number of purchases is fairly parallel with what is going on locally as well.