Contrary to popular belief, what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas -- and I'm back from the annual Real Living Momentum conference with a few real estate insights to share with you.
The Real Living Momentum conference took place last week at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Real Living agents and brokers from across the country gathered to connect and share new ideas - maybe win a few bucks if you happen to get lucky at the Craps table, maybe win a few awards if you happen to have the best real estate office in town.* While there were a number of interesting presentations and workshops, the shining star in my opinion was Shama Kabani, President of Marketing Zen, who lent a captivating presentation on the art of social media for real estate. Really insightful stuff for our industry. Another eye-opening presentation was from keynote speaker Dr. Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research at the National Association of REALTORS®.
So what does all this mean for you? You don't think I'd come back from Vegas without turning some of these gold nuggets of real estate wisdom into useful tips for our community? Of course not. If I could share only one piece of real estate advice, it would be this:
It's time to get off the sidelines - buyers AND sellers.
This is by far the most opportune to be a buyer. We have the lowest interest rates in history, and housing values have remained low. BUT, the catch is that this is not going to last much longer. In an urban/suburban area like Arlington, we have a limited supply of housing with little new construction because most available land has already been built up. Add to that a population that has been and will continue to grow, and skyrocketing rents which will drive more people to consider buying and you are left with:
Increasing population + increasing rents = more competition = more demand = limited supply = increasing prices.
Obviously I was not a Math major, but you get the gist. As the market turns the corner, the opportunity to purchase a home inside 128 with relatively easy access to Boston in a desirable neighborhood with good school (etc., etc.) is going to become much more challenging and expensive.
And for sellers, there are some convincing data points as well. As mentioned, we have a limited supply of homes in our area which means less competition for sellers. Alternatively, the KCM Blog reported that:
"Sellers have a window of opportunity for the next 90-120 days in most parts of the country in which to sell their homes for maximum price. We believe there will be increased downward pressure on home prices throughout the rest of the year." House Prices Window of Opportunity Beginning to Close.
This sounds contrary to the info above because it primarily affects areas that have seen substantial foreclosures. Many foreclosures have been delayed by a year because banks and the government have been working on a foreclosure roadmap, and these homes will be coming on the market soon. This will bring discounted competition for buyers and could impact the appraisal values of homes in certain areas. While Arlington doesn't have the foreclosure rates of Florida and California, we have some and it is still something for sellers to consider.
I may have been in Vegas but I'm not a gambling man, and I'll take sound real estate advice over a risky bet any day. And so, I'll leave you with this:
*(Self-promo disclaimer): Just a quick toot of our own horn - Real Living awarded Bowes Real Estate the number one franchise for per-unit-production-per agent, meaning we had more sales than any other franchise than in the county. The Home Advantage Team was also in the top ten for team performance - and of course we're still #1 in Arlington.