Tuesday, October 11, 2011

St George Utah Real Estate - A good time? A unique enough place?

St George Utah real estate is a good bet always, but what about right now?  I can just imagine being a buyer right now.  I'd be wondering, where in the heck can somebody go on the line telling me if NOW is a good time to buy OR NOT.  Also, is St George Utah a good place to do that buying, uniquely so, now, or NOT?

I'll try to answer those questions as I tend to always play it safe for the buyer, actually putting myself in their shoes and not going out on the limb, even when it would benefit me of course... because as you know, I am a St George Utah Realtor® and benefit by saying now is a good time to buy as always folks, in the Greater St George Utah area... as is always a good bet.  Well, so lets get to it, now that is out of the way and you understand a bias, that I am influenced by one naturally, and that I'm NOT going to let it get in the way of (do my best), other than the subject being present, IF it is a good time or not, and Here, in the St George area, peculiarly, or not.  First, primarily BECAUSE we are so borderline on things where nobody knows, appreciate with me will you, how tough it is to go out on a limb with this AND therefore, the greater likelihood for me to be influenced by my bias.

#1-  I believe, but do not actually know, that it is a good time to buy if you are having to get a loan, precisely because, generally prices will probably be at their all time low right now and secondly, because interest rates, I think may never be lower and I predict more confidently, that they will go up and when they do, it will be TOO LATE.  I think massive inflation [hint: also in our interest rates] is in our futures because of where the value of our dollar is headed in going down.

#2-  I believe that now could possibly be the very best time to buy in St George, based on prices being generally at their all time low right now.  Some speculation says they could go lower.  I admit, I do not know and have seen them do just that (house prices drop).  HOWEVER, I believe (not know) that the economy has to take a more taxing down turn such that the separate variable of uniqueness of our area has to be out matched, in terms of demand in the real estate market, being outpaced by higher inventory levels here.  I do not believe that demand for the area can generally be outmatched by an oppressed economy at first.  Perhaps when and if the government ever gets drastic enough to go after pension, securities and social security.  I know that sounds drastic [and I'm really out there right now], but if it happened, our retirement base, that really holds up our area, would be depleted.  I do believe that where as we have largely snowbirds flocking here, in my opinion, it will be more than that in terms of the older adult populations flocking in here from all different parts of the country. 

Regarding inventory levels in the St George area, I have seen them shrinking and as such, I think it will keep prices where they are, or in certain segments they are actually already having increased.  For example, to get a condo/townhouse right now with pool and amenities is increasingly difficult.  A development called Hidden Valley Town Homes is a prime example of this.  There used to be several units available in there, it was completely saturated with available inventory.  Now, you cannot throw a stick at one before it is snatched up, they are all virtually gone.  Also, I think everyone would say prices have gone up at least 5 thousand if not 10 thousand in there.  I've bid on several on there so have first hand knowledge of what I'm speaking about.  There are some other market segments that have felt similar decrease in inventory levels as to St George market conditions and trends.

Now, word of caution involving foreclosures, there are supposed to be more coming.  However, stats show a decrease in foreclosures on the market, perhaps as short sales become increasingly more effective in being accomplished, they then do not slip on over into a foreclosure OR we just have less and less distressed homes on the market- some indication of movement in that direction (check the Notice of Defaults with any title company).  This has been the single biggest factor driving low prices as those prices have prevailed or assailed the comp base, therefore, how things get valued across the board to include regular resales.  When this dries up, so to do prices indicate a notch up in terms of what is fueling the comp base.

#3-  Not only is St George Utah Real Estate ripe for the picking in my estimation, but the way the economy is going, I'd say if you are a buyer [that is not leveraged too much right now or in being over-extended on investments], then NOW is a very good time to buy.  I defined buyer as somebody that has scrimped their money and saved OR that just does not want to make a mistake, then I'd possibly risk something if it were me.  But I would pursue it methodically and WITH a St George Realtor®, like myself.  I say this because of short sales and how tedious and involved on the surface of even knowing how available it really is, based off it just saying Active

I think the economy is in for a shock regarding how badly the government has overspent and our own lack of saving money.  Thus interest rates being so favorable now, I think, would be my own best bet on getting in now, while they are so very low.  But then if the economy goes south, the risk does increase involving real estate taking a further hit.  I do not know which will be the most impactful variant in which to pursue to be honest and I'm only guessing our initial course of how bad things will get in the economy and on what level. 

#4-  This leads me to answer the next question I posed in our beginning paragraph, regarding if St George Utah is peculiar and unique enough, for which to be pursuing investment now, for later.  I hedge upon thinking how even when times get tough, people have to have a good place to live and an increasing commodity that people will want is the community values and the way in which a community either rallies to help each other or does not.  I believe that intrinsically people know St George, Utah offers that buffer from the rest of the world in terms of the low crime and greater civility in the face of economic unrest. 

I believe that these very things, besides the fact of its beauty and charm and cultural richness, will keep St George Utah Real Estate, still, a very viable, unique (see St George Attractions & Resources) and likely candidate for further demand, even into a tougher future influencing purchasing power.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Real Estate at Large in St George Utah

Where are prices going with St George Utah real estate?  This might be your question if you are a buyer and don't forget, if you are a seller.  The answer to this question may decide the difference between a price reduction for a seller and whether or not you purchase if a buyer.  After showing over 45 homes in 3 days I'm exhausted!  Never have I worked so hard to help a buyer buy St George Utah real estate here in good ole St George'y St George Utah.

Folks, this is not year of the crystal ball.  My latests "reads" on the market are such that the question is put- are we bouncing along on a rocky bottom OR are we bouncing along on a downward trend.  The word is not out nationally.  So, should it be in St George?  However, can you afford not to take advantage of soon to possibly sky rocket interest rates?  I think it is a rocky bottom and indications of less foreclosures to dominate the landscape does mean that we have... OK, maybe we haven't "turned" the corner, BUT we have enough activity in the market to think we have.  I think that unless things get really ugly nationally, that St George Utah real estate has the chances to hold its own based soley on location, location, location.

St George, Utah is located in the Mid-West and many of an older to middle aged folk are looking to either get out of the cold or find some place a bit more friendly.  I think St George is "it".  I do find people generally "finding" a move to St George and being rewarded in thinking it is friendlier here than elsewhere, where they moved from, than where they could have ended up.  So, what does St George have going for it if it is not immediate jobs, for we are not booming in that area?  It has friendly people that seem to live the values they demonstratively seek for in this area.  It is the Law of Attraction in "order".  I want one friendly person at the super market, one less snarly driver, a side of neighborly hailing and a boss that appreciates me.  That is what you have in St George Utah on most sunny days.

Hey, its been a great summer, who cares about one day of 106 degrees!  That's right, you heard it, 106 degrees- when you have the rest that goes with it. 

OK, here is a comparison as we are not usually that high- see Salt Lake City weather as compared to St George Utah weather.  Many people talk about crazy people to think of so hot, when, we who live here and move here will say, that is why air conditioning was invented folks and we can't tell the difference.  As if you got up off your silly chair during the day.  At least we do and don't even notice because our car has it too.  Whose sporting around now, because when the winter comes and it will come, no more jackets, no more withering heights for you, for our desert lizards will see more light and warmth than you will.  St George is not just an exotic wish, but a lifestyle and a mindset.  Either you live with it or without it.  Either way I'm confident if I build it, they will come.  Yours truly, your St George Utah Realtor- Brian Habel.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

St George Short Sales and the Ethical Basis to Pursue One

When looking at pursuing a St George Short Sale, many candidates wonder about the right time, although for many it seems imminent because of the hardship in continuing to be able to make ones house payment.  There are also another distressed group whom are depleting family savings and perhaps job opportunities and family situations based off the idea of honoring their commitments on their mortgage.  I personally believe this to be the way I'd go with things in trying to honor my commitments.  Also, I delve into the personal ethical considerations involved in cases I look at and how to come up with a criteria that will help to judge cases where in we could help justify when it could be a right time to do a short sale.  Basically, on my St George Real Estate website I detail three ethical consideration criteria on when I personally think a short sale could be the ethically correct or the right thing to do and these items could be taken in tandem with each other.
  1. When it is financially impossible to make the house payment anymore or there is considerable financial strain.
  2. When it is causing a troubled family situation based on economic duress.
  3. The situation is becoming more and more unrecoverable.
I cite an example of an actual St George Utah Real Estate case example to help demonstrate some of these criteria in practice.  My hope is that this will help the St George distressed homeowners who do not know regarding the ethical considerations as well as dilemma's involved for doing a St George short sale.

Monday, May 09, 2011

St George Real Estate- Recap, Pick-Up, Long Term Forecast & New Economic Boost

St George real estate has seen a lot of ups and downs in its economy in the last 6 years. 

St George Real Estate Recap
In the St George real estate sector, having been one of the last places to capitalize on investments, investors helped push up real estate values at an unprecedented rate.  So fast did St George property values rise, that we either led the nation or ranked third or fourth for a year or two consecutively.  Many locals saw their home values virtually double witin a couple of years.  Well, like the rest, we felt the bubble burst.  Not only does "what goes up, must come down", but how fast we went up has had a relationship with how fast we have came down too.  We spiked up and spiked down.  Our bell curve was steeper.  As such, one could also speculate a little more educatedly, that perhaps we have reached the bottom.

Many believe St George real estate values spiked higher than most places.  Well, I saw a St George commercial real estate presenters assessment of our residential values with graphs and so forth and he showed that actually we did not spike any higher than say California.  They just had a much more gradual increase over time. So, I don't know if anybody has been to the Lagoon amusement park here in Utah, but they have a roller coaster that emulates what happened to us.  A big tall ascent followed by a huge descent... and then two upside down loops to go with it.  All this unravel can lead us to think things are worse than they reall are here.

Tangible Pick-up in St George Real Estate Market - Second Quarter of 2011
St George Real Estate Market Stats
A tangible pick-up in the St George Real Estate market is noted by many St George Realtors to include myself starting in April 2011.  It is marked by LOTS more buyers looking at properties. However, almost as much seem to refuse to buy.  But that little difference, marks a pick up in transactions however.  Nationally, we are still taking a cold shower. What remains to be seen is how many new listings are coming onto the market to replace this pick up in activity that might just be normal for the time of the year.  Coming off months prior, the trend of listings sold to ones that are Active or being newly put onto the market was in favor of increasing inventory levels, while March did a small reversal to a little more solds than new ones coming on.  The first part of the second quarter of 2011 seems to mark a significant increase of activity.  Whether it translates to more solds than new listings being put on and a subsequent diminishing of inventory, has yet to be seen. 

St George Foreclosures
St George Foreclosures and Short Sales have typically been the measure for how a comparable base of solds and at what price, represent our current pricing of homes on the market.  The graph to the right will tell the number of Greater St George sales as to new listings being put on, for this last one year- for FORECLOSURES only. St George Foresclosures can be one indication of what is leading the market, perhaps helping keep prices flat lined or somewhat the same.  I'd say with our increase of activity that pricing is stagnet.  We will probaby stick around this bottom we are experiencing for some time yet.

Long-Term Forecast
St George Notice of Defaults
The Notice of Defaults are people who are defaulting on their loan payments and Washington County does have a measure of knowing.  Therefore, because there is the beginnings of a pattern showing these as declining, this could become predictive, months down the road, that of a slow transfer again towards more of a Sellers market.  If I could represent a number of defaults per year by comparing each years average amount with the musical notes going up on a music scale, say from "Do, Re, Mi, Fa", then Do=2007, Re=2008, then missing one up to Fa=2009, and then back down one for Mi=2010, and... so far 2011=Re with its trajectory in March heading us down even a bit lower.  This is a significant sign of diminishing distressed properties.  Eventually, this coud translate to regular sales becoming more the prevailing type of property forming the comparable sold comp base.  This lends itself away from distressed properites setting pricing on the market and being of a different type of listing inventory base. As such, one could logically speculate toward eventual price stabalization towards more of an average St George appreciation rate. Still it may take some time with the national market conditions influencing local St George real estate trends.

New St George Regional Airport Brings Economic Boost Ahead
It's official.  The new St George Utah Regional Airport is opened for flights and business as of January of this year- read more regarding the opening of our new St George Airport.