Thursday, March 29, 2007

Gain in Home Sales

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the monthly gain in existing home sales from January to February 2007 was the highest increase the market has seen since March 2004. NAR attributes the gain to a combination of lower home prices, better gas prices, and all-time highs for the stock market.

The existing home sales rose 3.9% in February with a rate of 6.69 million units, up from 6.44 million in January. The increase between months was the biggest monthly rise in three years. (Back in March 2004, sales also rose 3.9%.)

NAR's chief economist, David Lereah, speculated on some of the reasons for the gain. "Some of the rise in home sales may be from mild weather that brought out shoppers in December, but fundamentals have improved in the housing market and buyers see a window now with historically low mortgage interest rates and competitive pricing by sellers," he said. "Even so, winter storms last month [February] discouraged shopping, and buyers were chilled with the third-coldest February on record. These unusual weather patterns mean home sales that close in March may decline before rebounding later this spring."

The positive report is a fresh change among recent "gloom and doom" news relating to the real estate market.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

2007: A Transitional Year for New Homes

This March, the National Association of Home Builders released a new report predicting 2007 home sales for new construction. The study revealed that the U.S. housing markets who experienced the biggest booms in 2004 and 2005 will be the last to resume normal levels of sales activity. The areas in the U.S. where growth was less dramatic will recover to normal levels sooner.

"The earlier boom in housing can be attributed largely to excess demand generated by historically low interest rates coupled with aggressive mortage lending practices, a combination that made homeownership more affordable but also attracted investors and speculators into many markets," the report said. "These factors put inordinate upward pressure on sales, prices and production. Major downward corrections occurred in housing markets during 2006, and further adjustments have extended into the early part of 2007."

The NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) Chief Economist David Seiders believes that the boom and correction cycle was largely based on national rather than local factors, causing most regions to experience some degree of "overheating and correction." He said, "We expect 2007 to be a time of transition in most regions, with housing starts bottoming out in the early part of the year before transitioning to gradual recovery paths."

For this year, the NAHB predicts new single-family hoem production at 1.2 million units, 30.2% down from the all-time high in 2005, which was 1.72 million units. They are more optimistic about 2008, when they forecast single-family home production to be 1.31 million units (only 23.8% down from 2005).

By 2008, the NAHB believes the inventory overhang will mostly be absorbed. They feel areas that were not overbuilt during the 2004-05 boom will return to normal levels of production.

The study revealed the future is something to look forward to for new home sales.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Our New Office

Springtime cannot come fast enough for RE/MAX At Home this year as we anticipate moving into our new office. Months and millions of dollars in renovations have turned the old building we bought on 3215 Algonquin Road into a state of the art real estate office. The transformation will be worth the wait!

The move is scheduled for April, as only a handful of projects remain until the office is move-in ready. We will welcome our clients and business partners for an official tour of our new home with a Grand Opening. (Details will follow as we get closer to the move-in date.)

The #1 business of our new office will be, of course, our real estate business. However, with the opening of the new office, Basel Tarabein (broker/owner) will launch six additional businesses. Two of these are currently with us - our attorney's office (Attorney Michele Ohlson) and our lender (Platinum Mortgage).

The brand new business ventures will consist of a real estate school, a builders design center, a real estate investment trust and property management company, and a custom home building and design company. The unique concept will be beneficial to everyone involved, creating a cycle of leads for our agents as well as providing a "one-stop shop" for our clients. The Grand Opening will give us an opportunity to share more in-depth about each of these businesses.

We'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

When the RE/MAX Times dedicated an entire article about Blogs in the “Technology” section of the December issue of their newspaper, our office realized it was time to embrace the newest wave of Internet usage! RE/MAX International is the number one real estate company in our industry, and partly because they have always stayed at the forefront of information technology and eBusiness. Our broker, Basel Tarabein, thought it would be a good idea for our office to follow suit and start a blog.

So, welcome to our blog! We hope to provide valuable news regarding market trends, community information, buying and selling tips, and our office. Feel free to interact by posting your own comments – we’d love to hear from you! We feel this blog will become a convenient way for you to stay in touch with our office happenings and keep informed of industry news.