Whether you are a homeowner, buyer, seller, investor or real estate agent, you can profit from studying “Bubbles, Booms, and Busts: Make Money in Any Real Estate Market” by Blanche Evans. This extremely well-researched and up-to-date book reveals the signals of a rising, falling or neutral local market for home sales prices.

Evans, the editor of online Web site www.RealtyTimes.com, has thoroughly researched the national home sales market and interviewed dozens of respected economists and others to report on what is likely to happen to local home-sale prices for houses and condos.

Purchase Bob Bruss reports online.

She takes a long-term view of the market for home sales, using population-growth statistics and other facts (not opinions), to maintain a sound perspective on the outlook for home sales.

“Home prices usually track a point or two ahead of inflation,” Evans notes. “Except for local economic shocks, like the collapse or exit of a major employer, home prices nationwide have not gone down since the Great Depression,” she reminds readers.

Although a few segments of the book seem irrelevant to home sales, such as brief sections on excessive CEO compensation and severance packages, most of the book stays focused on the housing market. Evans reminds readers that local economic shocks can cause real estate busts, such as the oil price surge and plunge in the late 1970s in the “oil patch” of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado, Wyoming and Alaska. But those home-sale markets recovered after about 10 years, she notes.

“The obvious conclusion is that economic distress causes housing busts — not prior real estate booms. However, the longer and higher home prices rise, the more likely they are to escape the surly bonds of reason,” Evans warns. Then she focuses on the current housing glut, such as too many new houses and condos for a slowing market in many cities.

The book presents statistics in understandable “chunks,” usually in the form of easy-to-understand graphs, such as number of single-family homes on the market and months supply of single-family homes available for sale. “Month-to-month swings in starts and permits data may not be meaningful,” Evans opines. “It is far better to look for trends to establish themselves over a period of several months,” she adds.

This is a thinking-person’s book. But it is not pie-in-the-sky theory or a get-rich-quick guide. Instead, it reports the facts and suggests how buyers and sellers should cope with them for maximum personal benefits. There are also valuable suggestions on how home sellers can profit even if their local market is in a slump.

Chapter topics include “The Current Housing Bubble — Cause and Effect”; “Who’s Buying and Who’s Selling”; “Why and Where Do People Buy Homes”; “Busts — Where, Why, and When”; “The Bust to Come”; “After the Boom, Bubble, and Bust”; and “Make the Current Market Conditions Work for You.”

Does the author predict a real estate “bust”? No. But she warns there will be slowing in many home sales markets, depending on local economic conditions. She even names the cities where, based on statistics, home-value declines are most likely to occur.

The timing for publication of this great book couldn’t have been better. It answers typical questions about whether this is the right time to buy, sell, or hold residential real estate. On my scale of one to 10, this well-researched new book rates an off-the-chart 12.

“Bubbles, Booms, and Busts: Make Money in Any Real Estate Market,” By Blanche Evans (McGraw-Hill, New York), 2006, $16.95, 167 pages; Available in stock or by special order at local bookstores, public libraries, and www.Amazon.com.

(For more information on Bob Bruss publications, visit his
Real Estate Center
).

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