HARBORFIELDS REALTY BLOG
A VERY UNUSUAL NEW YEAR'S EVE!
With Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors there are several traditions I grew up with. One of them is that on New Years day a part of your dinner must include a sweet relish (cranberry, apples, nuts, etc.) Its purpose, beyond being delicious is to "break the bitterness” of the year just passed.
Well, I am all in favor of breaking any ties to 2008. After last summer it was a very challenging year. YET I HAD AN UNUSUAL NEW YEAR'S EVE DAY. Generally it is a non existent business day. Yet yesterday 12/31/08, I had an engineering report on one of my seller's homes to get it into contract and I showed 2 buyers in two separate price categories of $500,000 and $1,500,000. I also received 2 emails from buyers who told me they have made a decision to purchase a new home in the first quarter of this New Year. I even spoke to an investor that is beginning to consider coming back into the real estate market.
I read all the dismal news and data…. so what is happening? Let me go back to the 80"s when black Monday hit. Several five months prior to the stock market crash, I experienced a significant drop in my personal business. Prices had been going up like a rocket, but in May one buyer after another would see a home that they really liked and they would tell me that they felt it was simply too expensive. Some buyers were transferees who did not take their job offers; others were buyers who said they would just wait in hopes prices would be forced down eventually.
The point of this tale is that sometimes the day to day experiences of an experienced broker or company owner in a “main street business” picks up a trend before the newsmakers know it is happening.
I believe there is some good news ahead for all of us in 2009. There are tremendously good values on the market right now. Owners have reduced their prices and want to get their home sold so that they can move on in their lives. Mortgage rates are at all time lows for qualified buyers. One of my buyers who are purchasing one of my listings just locked in their mortgage rate at 4.8%. A conventional loan has been raised from $417,000 to $625,000. Jumbo loans now start at there. No more PMI for many people. There is a first time home buyer’s government credit of $7,500 available to help get a home for more people. Most of my home sellers are willing to structure a seller’s concession as part of their sale. Lots of good things to help lots of people buy. The news sounds like no one can get a good mortgage. That simply is not true.
Therefore I an excited and hopeful that this New Year in our communities is going to be a happy new year with the joy of home ownership for many families.