Real estate agents and brokers surveyed in September by Point2 Technologies were slightly less confident about the future than they were in August, but remained more optimistic than pessimistic overall.

On a scale of one to 10, Point2’s Real Estate Confidence Index recorded a 5.83 reading at the national level in September, down from 5.88 in August. It was the first decline in the index since it was launched in June, the company said.

The index has three components, measuring the current, near-term and long-term sentiments of real estate professionals.

The current sentiment of agents and brokers averaged 5.06 on a seasonally adjusted basis in September, up from 4.96 in August and 4.76 in June.

Short-term sentiment — the outlook for the next three to six months — averaged 5.7, down from 5.8 in August and 5.74 in June.

At 6.72, long-term sentiment — the outlook for the next 12 to 18 months — was down 2.3 percent from an August high of 6.88.

The 2,493 brokers and agents surveyed are users of the Point2 Agent listing syndication and Web site platforms in every U.S. state, Puerto Rico and Guam.

Point2’s report summarizing the survey results included comments from real estate professionals in those states.

Some representative responses from California included:

  • "High foreclosure ratio. Homes are selling faster due to the lower prices and interest rates and government-assistance programs."
  • "Short sales seem to be moving faster — as long as the lenders shorted are not the bigger lenders (Bank of America, Wells Fargo, etc.)"
  • "Below-market pricing on REOs (bank-owned properties) promote multiple offers. Financing is still a problem, therefore investors are getting the properties by paying cash and the first-time buyers are being left out."
  • "Mostly short sales and REO (sales in this area). (We need) some regular sellers."

Typical comments from Florida included:

  • "(There are) tons of buyers to buy the short sales and foreclosures, but very low sales prices equals very low commissions."
  • "What’s selling are short sales and bank-owned properties. I see more bank-owned (homes) coming on the market now and in the … months to come. With people losing their jobs (everywhere) in Florida it does not look good."
  • "I find it tougher to get clients qualified. Once they are, they tend to look for houses in higher-priced areas that have short sales or real deals in their price range." …CONTINUED

From Indiana, comments included:

  • "There is no consistency. The $8,000 tax credit is about to go away. It is getting harder to qualify for a loan or get an acceptable appraisal."
  • "More jobs are opening up, which will be a boost in our county."
  • "I have gone from one to four closings per month to 12 scheduled for September."

In Arizona, agents and brokers observed:

  • "The economy is in very bad shape; people (are) losing their jobs or afraid to; taxes will go up and interest rates will go up."
  • "There is a continual glut of foreclosures, making it next to impossible to sell houses voluntarily. The buyers who can get (qualified) lack motivation."
  • "(I’m seeing) multiple offers on all homes I am trying to help clients purchase. Feels like 2005."

Typical reports from Washington included:

  • "We started foreclosures sooner, which should weed out excess housing, and first-time buyer credit will increase sales in our area."
  • "We are beginning to see activity in the ‘high-end’ homes but the sale prices are cut by up to 12 percent. We had previously seen 3 to 4 percent."
  • "Ugly, ugly, ugly … (we are handling) less than one-third of the business as compared to 2007."
  • "Our office is busy with first-time homebuyers. Almost normal activity level."
  • "(Things are) picking up … (I) wish the $8,000 tax credit would extend at least until March
  • "(The outlook depends on) whether or not Boeing stays in the state — also how quickly the banks can unload their foreclosures."
  • "(the market is) strong for in-city Seattle properties. (It’s) much weaker when you leave the metro area."



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