Confidence among real estate agents and brokers dipped in December after a heady rise in November, according to a monthly survey conducted by real estate tech company Point2 Technologies.

The company’s monthly Real Estate Confidence Index (RECI) registered 5.91 nationally (10 is highest), almost 2 percent lower than in November, but still the second-highest rating since Point2 established the index in June 2009. November saw the highest rating at 6.03, reversing two months of declines, including the index’s lowest rating, 5.59, in October.

Confidence among real estate agents and brokers dipped in December after a heady rise in November, according to a monthly survey conducted by real estate tech company Point2 Technologies.

The company’s monthly Real Estate Confidence Index (RECI) registered 5.91 nationally (10 is highest), almost 2 percent lower than in November, but still the second-highest rating since Point2 established the index in June 2009. November saw the highest rating at 6.03, reversing two months of declines, including the index’s lowest rating, 5.59, in October.

Point2 based the survey results on 1,213 responses from real estate professionals nationally — most of them are users of Point2 Agent, the company’s syndication network. The survey consisted of three simple questions asking how agents would rate current market conditions in their area and how optimistic or pessimistic they were about the housing market in the near term (the next three to six months) and in the longer term (the next 12-18 months). The company calculates the index from the median across all three time periods.

All three components of the national index decreased slightly. Current sentiment fell from 5.16 to 5.01, the near-term outlook from 5.96 to 5.92, and the long-term outlook from 6.98 to 6.8. The majority of agents and brokers, 73.8 percent, gave the 12- to 18-month outlook a rating of 6 or higher, reflecting "relatively healthy" optimism, the company said. The company also released a heat map of component indexes, by state.

A fourth, open question requested commentary. Below are some representative responses.

North Dakota (RECI 8.55, current market 8, near term 8.33, long term 9.33):

  • "(This market is) doing fairly well (compared to) the way other places have it. Some of the homes are overpriced, but they stay on the market longer or don’t sell. Homes priced under $165,000 do pretty good here in our market; some on the low end are overpriced as well."
  • "This year 2009 will either be the third best year or fourth best year in the Grand Forks MLS. (It’s a) very stable market, (with) low unemployment rates around 3 percent."
  • "Our market is very good. For the last year, the military has moved in additional personnel and the energy companies have been expanding." …CONTINUED

Texas (RECI 7.17, current market 6.42, near term 7.2, long term 7.9):

  • "Our market picked up as we were nearing the deadline for the tax credit and has continued to hold steady since it was extended through April."
  • "We are starting to see more shorts and foreclosures; lending is becoming more and more of a problem, even with good clients."
  • "I think the market is getting better, slowly. Sales have picked up in the past two months."

Virginia: (RECI 6.43, current market 5.57, near term 6.52, long term 7.19):

  • "December is normally slow but this year … awful!"
  • "Much depends on the tax credit … The more expensive homes are still moving very slow, while entry-type properties are selling very well."
  • "We have a large number of military bases in the area that have kept our local market moving. While many of the homeowners are underwater in their homes, with a small increase in values, many should be able to sell and break even again."

California (RECI 5.92, current market 5.03, near term 5.86, long term 6.87):

  • "Currently there are many short sales and foreclosures, and buyers in the $250,000 to $280,000 range, but no desirable listings. Many buyers are wanting (seller financing)."
  • "High-end markets are still suffering from a lack of financing and unemployment."
  • "There are still quite a few foreclosures and the investors are buying all the houses, not the (regular buyers)."

Oregon (RECI 4.72, current market 3.82, near term 4.59, long term 5.76):

  • "We are fairly close to being REO (bank-owned properties) driven. Prices have plunged and we’re seeing multiple offers on any property (that is) well-priced."
  • "There is too much inventory and too many negative economic factors (unemployment) to be too optimistic."
  • "There are lots of short sales and foreclosures … When it was a seller’s market, buyers were screaming for a home. Now it is a buyer’s market and we can’t even find a buyer."

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