Editor’s note: No one knows the local real estate market better than Realtors. In this two-part series, Inman News sought out local insights on what’s happening on the ground and what agents think is in store for 2007. (Read Part 2.)

Terry Murphy
Executive Vice President
West Contra Costa Association of Realtors
Richmond, Calif.

How is your market?

“It’s moving. The market is different than it was last year. It’s probably going to be the third- or fourth-best market we’ve ever had. (Inventory) is increasing to the point where buyers have the chance to buy their first choice.” 

What do you anticipate the market will be like next year?

“I think it’s going to be a good market. There will be balanced buyers and sellers.”

What’s the biggest issue facing the industry next year?

“We’ll find out when Congress reconvenes.”

Do you plan to invest in new technology in 2007?

“We have to use the Internet. Fully two-thirds of our market requires it — that’s their expectation. (We are planning to invest in) increased capacity, (to make our existing system) work better.

Sherrie Mauzy
Realtor
Keller Williams Tampa Properties
Tampa, Fla.

How is your market? 

“I can’t give you exact numbers but there’s plenty of inventory. The market’s starting to pick up a little bit.”

What’s happening with prices?

“Prices are holding steady. The ones I see dropping are the ones that were probably overpriced to start with. So they’re more in line. There’s a steady increase, just not what we saw last year.”

What do you anticipate the market will be like next year?

“More of a leveling out, actually, where there’s more inventory, good deals for buyers. So maybe more towards a buyer’s market or a more normal market than what we’ve seen.”

What industry issues are you following?

“Insurance is a serious problem in Florida. We’ve been thrown into the state fund. A lot of people have seen their insurance prices double, triple and quadruple over the last year. Sometimes it knocks (buyers) out of the market. It’s caused some people to sell their home because they found out their insurance costs more than their mortgage payment. The issue is being addressed by the Legislature, but we don’t have a quick easy solution yet. (Hurricanes are) part of it. There have been some other issues. Sinkhole claims. A lot of the insurance companies have pulled out, quit writing (policies).”

Do you plan to invest in new technology in 2007?

“(We use) Realtor.com, (and I have) my own Web site. We use Top Producer to track all of our Internet leads. Works great. Most people get on the computer or the Internet before they ever contact a Realtor. “

Watkins Wild
Broker owner
ERA Wild Realty Inc.
McComb, Miss.

How is your market? 

“We are a fairly rural market. We are about 120 miles north of New Orleans, so we were in the (Hurricane) Katrina-affected area, though our damage was not anything like it was along the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. It’s had a fairly dramatic impact on our market, though, with people who have migrated north to get further away from the storm zones. We’ve estimated that the population in our market area has increased since Katrina by a minimum of 10 percent, maybe as much as 15 (percent) to 20 (percent), within a year’s time.”

What’s happening with prices?

“There is no inventory, and prices have gone up probably on the order of 12 (percent) to 15 percent in that year’s time. It’s starting to level out a little bit … starting about September things started easing off. That may be seasonal, a little bit, but we’re not replenishing inventories at a fast rate even now; there’s still plenty of demand for most categories of housing.

“It has been very hard (to value homes) because, of course, in doing market analyses you’re looking at the past, you’re looking at history, and so you’re trying to guess just how much the new structure is going to be. And every time we thought we’d reached a new plateau, something would sell for more. Our market’s been, as I said, a fairly rural, small community market, and we’re not used to the concepts like Florida and California and some of these places where people would pay over list price. We actually had some of that activity — a lot of competitive bidding, and it’s just done amazing things to prices. It’s going to be interesting thing to see once it levels out if those prices are sustainable. The jury is out on that.

“The areas that before Katrina were sort of on the decline and not preferred areas have come back. There’s almost not a bad place anymore. There’s been a fairly significant increase in commercial construction. Larger franchise-type companies that normally would have considered our market too small have started buying property and coming in, so it’s been an interesting journey.

“Mostly (the construction is) single-family. There is a dire need for multifamily (housing). One of the newest projects that’s been presented to the zoning commission was for development of an office park, highway commercial-type use, a multifaceted thing, and within that hoping to develop some apartment complexes. So it’s going to be very interesting.”

What do you anticipate the market will be like next year?

“I believe our market is going to grow for awhile. I expect there will be some consolidation. I don’t think we will have the same rate of growth, because that initial surge is past. But I think it’s going to be steady growth. I feel good about it. I feel we’re going to have a good market in our area.”

What industry issues are you following?

“We see there’s a lot more for-sale-by-owner activity, just because the shortage was so acute, that displaced people were actually going door to door, knocking on doors to see if people would sell them homes. And it was happening. Some of those people probably undersold themselves — probably a lot of them did — just because they didn’t realize how tight things were. But I’m sure some of them probably got premium prices, too.”

Do you plan to invest in new technology in 2007?

“We have multiple Web sites. We do newsletters, that sort of thing. One of the interesting things I went to today was the session on blogs. I want to look into doing a blog in conjunction with our other activities. We use the Internet pretty extensively. That’s where we generate a lot of leads.

“We have a Webmaster who handles our primary Web site for us. I’ve already talked to her (about blogging) and there probably would be some additional investment. I’m still a little bit green about blogs, I don’t know if we would have to have a separate domain or if we can do it within our existing (domain). We have multiple domains actually, one of them we’re just using to capture searches, and they’ll link back to our primary site, so I’m thinking if we can use one of those (domains) that we already have that it won’t cost us more to do it.

James “Jim” Joeriman
Manager
Prudential Zack Shore Properties
Forked River, N.J.

How is your market?

“It’s off a little bit. Inventory is up like just about everywhere else. But the good news is sales are only off 12 percent. So I think were going to get through it. Everybody is calling it a correction, I agree with that. I think we’re going to have a good market come the first of the year.”

What’s happening with prices?

“Prices are staying stable. That’s the good news. We don’t see a big drop in prices. So sellers seem to be waiting it out. Buyers are not off significantly.”

What do you anticipate the market will be like next year?

“I think we’re going to have a good market, I really, really do. I think interest rates are still down. I think the buyers are going to say, ‘Boy we’ve been hearing this for a year, we haven’t seen prices crash,’ and I think they’re going to come back into the market. I’m very optimistic.”

What industry issues are you following?

“I think that everybody in the industry is concerned with what’s happening with the suit (the U.S. Department of Justice) has filed against us in the MLS realm, and how IDX is going to settle out and how that’s going to affect our business going forward. So that’s probably the biggest issue for me. I’m hoping the DOJ loses, and that our IDX policy will go forward. I mean, it’s our work product, we developed the MLS, we’re the ones that do the work for it, and everybody else shouldn’t be able to share in our labor.”

What’s the biggest issue facing the industry next year?

“It’s probably going to be how we settle out and deal with buyer agency and the companies like LendingTree, and what percentage of the market they’re going to capture and how we’re going to fare in that. I think that all goes back to how the DOJ suit is settled.”

Do you plan to invest in new technology in 2007?

“I think what were looking at now is expanding into the world of blogs. They seem to be the new thing everybody’s looking for. So we’ve got a pretty extensive Web site right now, but that’s the avenue were looking at right now. “

Gail McDonald
Broker/owner
Gail McDonald Real Estate
Chair, Summit Association of Realtors
Frisco, Colo.

How is your market? 

“We are about a 70 percent second-home market. Our sales have been great over the last two years. Last year was record breaking; this year has been very equal to last year. It’s mostly baby boomers looking for a second home, maybe a place to retire in the future.”

What’s happening with prices?

“Our average single-family price is about $562,000. All of our prices are increasing steadily. Our volume is pretty consistent but our prices are continuing to go up.”

What do you anticipate the market will be like next year?

“That is really hard to say. I guess it would have a lot to do with the economy. At this point we’ve been told the baby boomers, our second-home market, still has a lot of money to spend. They may be holding on to it for a while, but real estate is obviously a really good investment right now, so we’re anticipating a really good year.”

What industry issues are you following?

“Obviously banks in real estate. We’re hoping the small-business health plan gets presented and passed (in Congress) next year. It’s a cost issue for everybody.”

What’s the biggest issue facing the industry next year?

“It will be interesting to see in our area … how it plays out as far as our market with the rest of the economy and the rest of the United States. We’ve been doing really well, whereas some of the trends in some of the other resort areas haven’t been doing as well, but I think we still see our business as real strong.”

Do you plan to invest in new technology in 2007?

“I’m pretty high-tech already. I have a Web site, and obviously we are connected to Realtor.com. We own our own MLS system, so, we have the same technology as anyone else, and we use it there. We will continue to utilize what we have.”

***

Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to matt@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 150.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Connect Now is tomorrow! Join top producers as we discuss how to position your business for success in 2021.Reserve Your Spot×