Consumer confidence. Price appreciation. Multiple offers. Wait…is this real estate we’re talking about?!
Like long-forgotten music to our ears, these are just some of the buzz words peppering the vernacular of the nation’s top brokers as they advance toward further recovery. Even though some significant obstacles still stand in the way—from potentially hazardous changes to housing-related policy to a still-sizeable foreclosure inventory—power brokers believe that positive momentum in 2013 will carry us over the bumps in the road. Here, power brokers from across the country offer their take on the top issues influencing the real estate landscape this year. Take heed, as these factors stand to have a significant impact on business growth.
Buoyed by a bevy of end-of-year statistics showing a slowly improving unemployment outlook, increased holiday spending, and an all-around more positive outlook on our financial future, the consensus among brokers is that consumer confidence is on the mend…and stands to be real estate’s greatest ally in 2013.
“One of the biggest changes this year is going to be the mindset of buyers and sellers,” says Mark Woodroof, partner at Houston, Texas-based Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene. “When we rolled into 2012, most people were pretty leery and tentative about where everything was going, however, people were pleasantly surprised. There was this sense that maybe the improved market was here to stay—maybe it wasn’t just a temporary lift as we had seen with the homebuyer’s tax credit. People are continuing to feel better, and when people feel better, they tend to buy big-ticket items, like housing and cars. That story will continue for 2013. We have (at press time) the fiscal cliff and a host of regulations that stand to affect our industry, but consumers are way ahead of that in believing that somehow, all of that is going to get worked out.”
Prudential Florida Realty/Florida Real Estate Services President & CEO Rei Mesa agrees, citing a recent study which reported that consumer confidence in the last quarter of 2012 rose to its highest level since early 2008. Self-described as “cautiously optimistic” for 2013, Mesa believes that consumer confidence will be critical to turning the tide this year.
“With the presidential election behind us, consumers are more likely to get ‘off the fence’ and increase spending, including moving forward with their homeownership decisions,” explains Mesa.
Surprisingly, we have the media to thank for helping to build the momentum of consumer confidence as positive headlines about the economy and housing continue to come forth from authorities such as The Wall Street Journal, Marketwatch and Case-Shiller, to name just a few.
One of the critical drivers of this renewed consumer confidence is a gradual mental shift—both in the real estate market and our country as a whole—toward certainty.
Inventory Down…Prices Up
A shift that began taking place in 2012, power brokers predict that 2013 will witness an even greater lack of inventory—both a boon and a challenge to business this year.
As J. Lennox Scott, CEO & chairman of the Northwestern powerhouse John L. Scott Real Estate, explains, the inventory shortage began in 2012 when the real estate landscape began shifting back toward a seller’s market. “This will definitely continue in 2013 where we expect the majority of the sales activity taking place in multiple-offer markets. Prices are going to continue to rise and we’re going to continue to see an inventory shortage.”
An important point of clarification, offers Helen Hanna Casey, president of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, Ohio and Michigan, is that the inventory shortage will be felt most strongly in “desirable price ranges.”
“One of our greatest challenges is low inventory,” she explains. “Inventory is off in desirable price ranges and/or desirable neighborhoods. In most of our markets, inventory in the $220,000 – $350,000 price range is way, way down. It sells as quickly as it comes on the market.”
For a more local perspective, the majority of Maryland has also seen an upward swing of house prices slowly rising and bidding wars becoming the norm on well-priced homes. If you price it right and you take the time to present your home in its best light, you will garner top-dollar for your home.
With over 7 years in the business I offer my clients the most comprehensive representation in Maryland. Not only am I a REALTOR, but I also hold a Broker's license, which is the highest and most specialized license a REALTOR can hold. Customer Service is my Priority, Selling Houses is My Goal! Contact me for any and all of your Real Estate Needs. Proudly Serving Baltimore County (Perry Hall Farms, Kingsville, Glenside Farms, Honeygo Village, White Marsh, Middle River, Essex, Timonium, Dundalk, Pikesville, etc.), Harford County (Amyclae Estates, Bel Air, Bel Air South, Brentwood, Brentwood Manor, Brentwood Park, Bright Oaks, Brook Hill Manor, Cedarday, Country Walk, Fountain Glen, Foxborough Farms, Glenangus, Glenwood, Greenbrier Hills, Hickory Hills, Homestead Village, Irwins Choice, Marywood, Stoneridge Point, The Estates at Cedarday, Todd Lakes, Forest Hill, Monmouth Meadows, etc.) and Baltimore City (Canton, Fells Point, Bayview, Highlandtown, Patterson Park, Hamilton, Hampden, etc.)