Saturday, December 29, 2007

2008 A Normal Market - Steadying Picture

Economists agree that home sales (new and existing) will bottom out in 2008, somewhere in the second or third quarter. While we've kind of been in that scenario already, it is quite a different thing for forecasters to go on the record stating a clear demarcation for appreciation again. So, local markets may vary, but nationally, because of underlying health issues involving the U.S. economy, there is a projected 'line in the sand' coming, stemming an unprecedented historical decline in housing prices.

In certain areas where there has been fantastic appreciation in the past, causing more of a bubble bursting situation, one can relatively project before old pre-appreciative spiked sales prices, given a homes average typical appreciation of 4 to 5% a year, where things ought to be now. It mostly lines up with a bit of slowing still projected through 2008.

Some variance of predictions exists between Chief economist Yun with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and economist Douglas Duncan with the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Yun asserts that while lending is more stringent in their requirements, he still believes that the pool of qualifying buyers is larger than believed saying, "This slowdown has never been about the underlying fundamentals of the economy... Consumers have the means to buy, but they've lacked the confidence. Once they see sales and prices stabilizing, they'll be back in the market." Conversely, with access to loosely written credit closed off, Duncan asserts, "you're likely to see continuing decline in the house prices and buyers sitting on the sidelines."

Economists say that tighter underwriting is exactly what the market needs right now. But Yun believes that the pool of ready buyers will still be larger than believed because they will have more financing options such as federally backed loans, specifically FHA loans. He recounts that FHA loans had a 20 percent share of the market in 2000 before the growth of sub prime lenders and if Congress passes reforms making them easier to obtain, which it is doing, then it can capture that share again.

I called one of my local St George Lenders, Steve Stout with SGI Mortgage to ask him about FHA reform passing and he told me that it hasn't done so yet, like anticipated. He also detailed how that he already supplies the FHA lending options as a lender. He clarified that the reform making FHA more of an option to people is not so much the requirements they have, but in outsourcing the availability of the program itself to all the different mortgage lenders there are, although reforming requirements is arguably a needed big part of it as well.

Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve Chairman, in speeches last year, gave a less than one in three for chances that the economy would slip into recession this year, which is the only thing that could quell a return to normalcy in the housing market. Even the Mortgage Bankers Association, sees a persistent growing of the economy through the first three quarters of the year as a basis for home buying ramping up into the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009. The key factor of how the housing is also dragging or won't be dragging on the economy is also thus taken into account in their models.

The commercial real estate is poised for continued solid performance across sectors this year. The tightening lending standards in the commercial sector have been taking place over time relegating commercial to a more normal and traditional scenario involving income investing. In other words, commercial owners plan to make more money from cash flow rather than appreciation. I can help if you need help regarding St George Commercial Real Estate.

Overall, 2008 is the year of return and not continuing decline... a year of return to normalcy.

If you'd like Brian to keep his eyes and ears peeled for you to help take advantage of good deals which equate to buying right, just give him a call or visit us on our website at St George Real Estate.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

St George Real Estate - National vs. Local Market Conditions and Projections 2008

National Scene 2008
The National real estate scene has seen characteristic turns in the market that correspond with interest rates, such that predictions into 2008 on existing-home sales is projected to trend gradually and only modestly upwards according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). They point to a recent mortgage disruption that peaked in August leaving the fall-out of lower home sales in September and October 2006. Since mortgage rates have improved the existing-home sales are expected to improve slightly to stable over the next couple of months. Because home sales have been significantly less in 2007, however, as compared with 2006, a Pending Home Sales forward-looking indicator index, helps project that the broad trend over the coming year of 2008, while a gradual rise in existing-home sales, will only be modestly higher than 2007, according to Yun, chief economist with the NAR. A recovery of new home sales is unlikely before 2009.

St George Utah Real Estate
As far as St George Utah goes- one local guru has gone on the record to say that he thinks things will pick up early spring.

Here on the local scene, home sales in periphery locations, even Hurricane, have suffered the most. Normally we would get our spill over of buyers into the more rural locations, perhaps from Californians looking to get back to a more rural simple existence and out of suburbia. In my limited view, we are closely tied to the national scene, such that when the coast lines free up, then we also tend to get back to a normal market. I think the highly affected rural areas are symptomatically the first responders and indicators of the future. One system affects another and right now Sellers in the more rural areas are mostly hanging onto their equity, rather than giving it away. Who might could blame them? In other words, if they were responding with significant price reductions, than we could forsee it in our future more centrally located in the Greater St George area.

It appears to me that while transactions are down there is and has been, for some time, a pretty good resistance by home owners to NOT lower prices, such that speculation buyers have had to halt activities for longer than they have wanted to in desperate hopes that prices would drop even more. I suspect that some of that will go on into the new year with some wondering if the winter will put the "freeze" enough on the sellers to come down even more. St George is still an attractive place and other non-speculative buyers are and will be buying and creating enough activity, to keep sellers sustained in their activities to try to maintain value... in my opinion.

In other words, if you as a buyer are waiting, I do not think it will be for an opportunity corrsponding with the market at large that you will avail yourself of, so much more than in waiting for that right opportunity that one can 'normally' find. However, this view is being challenged still, by all the Bank REO sales and short sales that seem to be receiving some numbers and flow, in terms of a large number of porportionate properties that are "moving" at this time.

This is your eye on the St George Real Estate market coming to you from the desk of Brian Habel, your St George Utah realtor. Be sure to visit my website and use my advanced property search provided through the Home Buyers Scouting Report- you will be glad you did. My many users, over 60 buyers, are currently enjoying the aerial photography of listings (I hope you've learned about the "Birds Eye View" from clicking on Map Views) and a way to save and track your favorite properties with email updates and being notified of any changes, such as a price change, addition of a photo or if the status changes to Under Contract, etc.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Southern Utah Home Buying Guide

Not long after I have ventured to say that our St George Ut real estate values will be alright, I found this Southern Utah Home Buying Facts Guide in my realtor box. It is most persuasive with a lot of facts pointing to- 'this is a good time to buy'. I think it will offer you some of the solace and 'get off the armchair' type of information you might need to get going and buy something. OK, it's obvious that I'm a realtor who is a realtor looking to win your business. I see my colleagues whose professions are just as much seeking for equilibrium. We will weather the storm. The art of sales has only to do with pursuing conversations and then finding out if we are a good fit for each other or not.

If I was St George, Utah, I'd be meeting you more than half way to ask, might it be a good time for you to buy? Feel free to check Brian Habel with REMAX out at St George Realtor. I offer a buying service at my St George Utah real estate page that gives you aerial photography of all the listings and way to keep track of your favorites in a property notebook. Oh, and if your are from out of town, you can find out where all the shopping, restaurants, libraries, airports, and schools are, with respect to where each individual listing is, that you are looking at on the map. There is nothing like it on the Internet- it is well worth the... no obligation, very secure sign-up, with all your information being kept confidential to a preferred lender and myself.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Utah Real Estate

Utah real estate will be OK. As a result, because St George real estate has usually faired better than the rest of the state with more growth per capita, then it also ought to be OK. These summations come in the wake of a recent visit by a national real estate expert, Peter Linneman, to Utah's NAI Utah Real Estate and Economic Summit this last Tuesday, of October 16, 2007. Here are some comments from him and privelaged information concerning the future of Utah Real Estate:

“I don’t see any chance of a [national] recession in a coming year,” he said. “We don’t have supply that we can’t absorb.”

A widely-published economist, Linneman is the founding chair of the Wharton School of Business real estate department at the University of Pennsylvania and was also recently named one of the most 25 influential people in real estate by Realtor magazine.

Many buyers panic unnecessarily about the local residential real estate market when they see national media reporting a plummet in housing prices, Linneman said. While growth in Utah’s real estate market has slowed, standing inventory will be filled in the next six to 14 months. The U.S. economy is doing exactly what it should be doing, he said.

“All areas…are doing normal, except housing, which is doing less than normal, which is what it should be doing to get back on track,” Linneman said.

The real estate market is not booming as it was a few years ago, but it’s not crashing, Linneman said. Growth is down, but prices are fine, a common misunderstanding, Linneman said. Growth in the sector is slowing, which is a normal, necessary outcome after the spike of the past three years. Real estate continues to appreciate at a normal rate of 1.3 percent annually, which is a healthier, more sustainable pace than the country has previously experienced.

“The housing sector should be weak,” he said. “If the housing sector were still doing well, we’d be setting ourselves up for a bigger problem.”

Currently, 450,000 homes sit unoccupied across the nation, Linneman said. However, 25 percent are located in southern and central Florida and an additional 25 percent in Phoenix, Las Vegas and southern California. The rest are scattered fairly evenly across the United States.

“You know what that says about the rest of the housing market? It’s not in bad shape,” Linneman said. “That doesn’t mean there isn’t a little excess, but that excess gets used up in months, not years.”

Contrary to many reports, the national economy is still performing well, he said, and will continue to do so during the upcoming year. More than 89,000 new jobs were added nationally in August, according to Linneman. Looking beyond the data, Linneman said key indicators of a strong economy are airports, hotels and restaurants, all of which are bustling.

“People do not go on big holidays when the economy is in bad shape; you don’t send six employees to a conference when the economy is in bad shape,” he said.

Linneman predicted a slight recession in 2009 and 2010, largely due to the introduction of a new presidential administration, which will lead buyers to pause as they see what decisions the new president will make. He counseled commercial real estate developers to be cautious about how much speculation space they bring online in 2009 and 2010, because a recession could lead to less job growth and slower business expansion.

Utah’s economy also continues to experience growth, and the quality of life in the state is a key driver, said Jason Perry, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, who also spoke at the event.

“By all key indicators, we have the hottest economy that exists right now,” Perry said.

According to a report from the Utah Department of Workforce Service released Tuesday, employment growth was 4.4 percent and 53,500 jobs were added during September in the state. Unemployment remains at a historic low of 2.7 percent.

“We are competitive with any state for bringing business into the state,” Perry said.

Because of this strong performance, Utah has been able to attract larger, more prestigious companies as possible move-ins. Perry mentioned a potential relocation deal with manufacturer Procter & Gamble, which would bring 1,300 jobs into the area.

“There is reason to be very optimistic about our future,” he said. “Things are happening here in the state of Utah.”

Friday, September 07, 2007

Housing Projections - Soul Projections

Housing Projections
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) indexes pending sales and follows seasonal patterns of sales and as such they report that pending sales of existing homes decreased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 12.2% to 89.9 in July from June's 102.4. Signed contracts for previously owned homes, was 16.1% below the level of July 2006. The NAR reports that the index shows existing-home sales are likely to decline in coming months as mortgage disruptions work through the housing market.

Here locally, St George Real Estate has mimicked what we hear on the national scene. One could also speculate, that even as the commercial sector is growing supporting a jobs growth economic base, that the illustrious influx of money like from: the baby-boomers, the second-home owners, and the California-like buyer who used to be able to get 'bank' on their home out there and come here to live in style, has been depleted by market conditions and has offset and curtailed any of the benefits that earlier 'leaked-out' fame may have brought us. The real benefit may be for the working class family that would like to continue to live, work AND purchase in St George Utah.

Soul Projections
How market conditions are, while shifty to perception, because it is harder to also get a loan now too, can be relative to whether you are the buyer or whether you are the seller. One should not always be duped by the luster and hype, when sales is merely the art of bringing out what is 'on the inside'. May we all 'shine' brighter- the congruence we 'would' make in the corollary.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

St George Real Estate, Appraisals and Lending

If you are a seller getting ready to sale your home, do not altogether rely on appraisals that often are going off past values and not being up on the somewhat declining market we've been in. Appraisals can be deceptive. Case in point. I have a listing right now that is a short-sale and the appraisal said the home was worth about 280K when the people moved in a year ago. They are now saling it at a loss of at least 60K. Banks are reeling.

And with thousands of mortgage banks and brokers threatened with extinction, lenders that embraced all kinds of risky loans two years ago are enforcing increasingly strict standards. They are refusing even to consider extending new credit to people who lack any equity in their homes.

Lenders have been tightening their standards for the past year in the face of rising defaults and growing jitters among the investors who provide funding for loans. That tightening has accelerated in the past two weeks as many lenders -- uncertain at what price they might be able to sell loans -- have stopped making all but the safest ones.

I heard that nearly half of the offer contracts entered into this last month ended up falling out. At very least, there has been an inordinate number and those that did fall out because of the inablilty to secure financing. So, if you need a good local Lender, I highly recommend Steve Stout with SGI mortgage because he is downright fair and very experienced running on 15 years in the business. And can I just say, you have to be experienced to work with the vascilating Lending market right now. I also have other recommended Lenders, along with Steve Stout's phone number on my site at St George Utah Lenders.

If you have real estate needs, we need to let you know about our special services. Namely, their is one shopping solution to beat them all. Enough said. It is called the Home Buyers Scouting Report. You can find it at St George Utah Real Estate. I might also say that we are just having/going through a makeover on our site that one might just find fanciful and our numbers are soaring in the search engines- we have a lot of repeat visitors.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

St George Utah Real Estate

Realtors whose frog legs are still left in the water, which are most, should be ashamed of themselves. It only takes one good look at realtor's activities outside oneself to see what is happening generally; to wake up and realize that the water temperature has been rising slowly. We are being cooked and therefore are cooking the Sellers we represent if we don't wake-up and get our prices in line with the demand. The tendency has been an actual declining market where chasing the market value price line downwards without getting your home onto that line equals less money out in the end. But don't tell anyone... this is what makes Brian Habel at RE/MAX First Realty, your St George Utah Realtor, much more likely to serve his Sellers better. Staying abreast of the market in order to protect his clients equity is what it is all about. Read ahead further for what may offset this decreasing downward trend that many a seller has been feeling.
Although, sales have been down and prices have been coming down to the tune of 1.5% depreciation per month, there is a fairly authoritative voice, for the national scene, telling us that home sales are expected to take a gradual improvement going into the end of 2007.
Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors senior economist in his latest forecast has said, "Home sales will probably fluctuate in a narrow range in the short run, but gradually trend upward with improving activity by the end of the year. It's important to keep in mind that all real estate is local, and many markets are expected to have higher sales and strengthening prices during the second half of this year."
If you should ever need any help with how to go about selling your St George Utah Real Estate, don't hesitate to give us a call.

Monday, July 02, 2007

2007 Market Data for the Nations Fastest Growing Area- St George Utah

Recent data for the St George Utah area suggests that the market is in a slow down, marked yes by price reductions. This is a bit offset in pricing strategy, by a starting high trend, only to reduce to reality later. We have somewhat of a decline as a compensatory reaction for unbelievably high price appreciation in 2004 and 2005.

This data has some basis in realtor sold units, but I hold no responsibility as to reliability or guarantee anything.

Starting with Lot sales we have about 123 lot sales in May of 2007 vs. 159 in 2006. This is about the difference represented. 31% of lots sold below 150K with 16% of that below 60K; also 17% between 150K and 200K. The rest sold above that price marker.

For dwellings we had 479 transactions in May 2006 and 421 in May 2007 and this seems to be the depth below 2006 we are running at. Homes below 400K are what's moving per the inventory levels, meaning homes above that take fairly significantly longer per the amount of listings in that class, to move and sell. Average, but not median price of single family homes for 2007 is 324K, which is down from 2006's 334K, but way up overall-- a jump from176K in 2003.

An interesting tid bit is that in 2005 buyers originated or come from: 25% from CA and 9% in NV and 50% in UT, while in 2006 a marked difference of 63% from UT, 15% from CA and 5% from NV.

These are approximate figures and should in no wise be relied on. We hope this information helps and as always encourage you to use us when you buy or sell St George Utah real estate.

Friday, June 01, 2007

St George, Utah- Rated #1 Boomtown by Inc.com

Inc.com just rated St George Utah as the #1 Boomtown 2007 in America. They used job growth as the number one factor toward economic vitality. Inc.com is not unfamiliar with ranking St George Ut as the best place to do business.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Future Demands for Water in Southern Utah- The Lake Powell Pipeline

Some people have talked like that water will be a precious commodity that may significantly impact or retard growth once we have reached a certain size. While I am unable to comment authoritatively about these things, I can refer our readers to a project that is looking way forward and has started the wheels a moving already into delivering a future of prosperity and growth- The Lake Powell Pipeline project. Dennis J. Strong, P.E. Director, representing the Division of Water Resources, relates that the Boy Scouts motto of "Be Prepared" sums up the preparation being taken for St George Ut Real Estate and the area. Key facts relating to our needs and the project are:
  • Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. signed the Lake Powell bill into law on May 3, 2006, opening the project for project feasibility studies.
  • Analysts predict Washington County alone could see a water demand of 174,000 acre-feet per year by 2039, an increase from the county's current demand of 45,000 acre-feet per year.
  • Studies should last till 2010 with the pipeline expected to be delivering water by 2020 after a 3-4 year construction period.
  • The pipeline will extend roughly 12 miles with a cost of approximately $370 million and $120 million to extend it to Cedar City. The pipeline would bring 70,000 acre-feet of water to Washington County, 10,000 acre feet of water to Kane County and 20,000 acre-feet to Iron County.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

2000-2006 St George Spectacular - Fastest Growing Area in the Nation

As of April 4, 2006 I am predicting that the new consensus numbers to be released shortly will rank St George, Utah as the fastest growing area in the Nation from 2000-2006. I heard it from a pretty reliable source that I cannot name and steal their thunder, let alone if I can actually know it was the source that they named. But take it from turtle, Brian Habel- these dessert preserves aren't all blowing sand; but shear carved out beautimous sandstone rock formations and color hewn vista, bluff and blue sky meets snow glazed Pine Valley mountain in April while boasting coasting shorts and T-Shirts out of winter. :-)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

St George Ut Real Estate

St George Ut real estate values may be affected in the upcoming future by the recent 'subprime meltdown', a certain type of home loan that is experiencing heavy rates of default and foreclosure. Although subprime represents a very small portion on home loans overall, the media has hyped it up and investors have become worried reflecting increased volitility in both Stocks and Bonds. While the stock market is taking a beating, causing money to flow into Bonds and Mortgage Backed Securities, which benefit home loan rates- the longer term picture may spell higher interest rates ahead. All this could help to quell any pick up felt in our St George Ut real estate market, leading to longer sell times on the market and perhaps a stagnation on any price appreciation.

Monday, March 05, 2007

2007 Sales Likely to Be Down, But Prices Should Be Slightly Up

Local St George Real Estate Market - 2007
Here in St George, there has been a tangable pick-up, but it is not the huge pick up we, as realtors would have liked. But often momentum builds slowly. Feel free to browse the St George Utah Real Estate Market.

National Market - 2007
Nationally, NAR says it expects existing-home sales to rise gradually in 2007 with annual totals comparable to 2006, but new-home sales will continue to slide.

Strength in the service industry will help to keep the job market healthy. Economists expect year-to-year inflation to decline. They guess that the Fed will shift its focus from fighting inflation to helping the economy grow, lowering short term interest rates.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

St George Utah Market is Picking Up

The St Geroge Ut real estate market is picking up from recent reports from the title companies, evidencing an increase in activity. Now, we are not talking radical stuff here, but a general picking back up is being felt amongst the realtors I work around.

Generally speaking about the market at large, a senior economist with the research department of the National Association of Realtors reports that the housing market has weathered the transition back to a sustainable market after the boom years.

Mean while locally there is some measure of anticipation in the air gearing up for the annual St George Area Parade of Homes to take place between February 16-25, 2007.