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Byron Lazine and Nicole White are two agents in Connecticut who give us their thoughts on the week’s news every Friday in “The Real Word,” a weekly video column on Inman. This week, Lazine and White are talking about the lagging growth at eXp, rising consumer confidence and the weekly media review Left, Middle, Right.
Topic No. 1:
In a recent interview, Glenn Sanford talked about his company’s sluggish agent count growth, blaming it on the market. According to Byron Lazine, it’s ridiculous to expect a record-setting market to continue indefinitely. There are always going to be organizations that will grow, and blaming your problems on the market is disingenuous.
When discussing why eXp’s agent growth has slowed, White said that she sees a lot of eXp agents in multiple states moving out of eXp into Real. Lazine concurred and added that any CEO who blames their projections on a slowing market hasn’t been paying attention to all of the indicators that showed what was happening.
Topic No. 2:
Consumer confidence is rising now as prices are dropping and as buyers anticipate falling interest rates over the next year. At the same time, homeowners believe that the value of their homes will remain intact and are not anticipating falling prices. Lazine said that he’s seeing significant interest and offers while White said her business is busier than it has ever been in the first week of January.
In addition, “Under Contract” stats in her market show a renewed sense of interest from buyers while Lazine says that multiple offer situations are rampant in many markets. If a buyer comes to you and says they’re waiting for a drop in prices, you need to educate them that most markets are not seeing adjustments in the median price point.
Left, Middle, Right
There may be untapped potential in the underutilized commercial real estate space across the U.S. This could help to solve the lack of availability and low inventory in many residential markets.
Lazine said while it would take a substantial redevelopment of many of these buildings, it would come down to how affordable these commercial buildings are and how much debt they have. In addition, if many of them become rental units, that won’t do much to boost homeownership. White said that the other barrier would be working with towns on rezoning these spaces.
Despite the challenges in the economy, Jamie Dimon expressed his optimism about consumer spending. Lazine’s argument against consumer spending is the “astonishing” increase in credit card debt among consumers. Unless we can get interest rates down and inflation under control, he is less confident in the consumer.
As a real estate professional, make sure your buyers truly understand the impact of their personal debt, and help them to identify affordable markets in your area.