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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The end is near!

The end is near! At least that is the premise of lots of news articles lately. Apparently various "people in the know" in our industry are now making statements that they believe that the worst is over in the housing industry. Some excerpts from recent news feeds include these tid-bits...

Bank of America’s CEO Ken Lewis recently spoke with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about the housing market. Here are some of his comments:

Q: When do you expect the nation's housing market to improve?

A: At best, it's a guess, but my anticipation is that by the end of the year, we'll begin to hit a bottom. But we're not going to see improvement for several more quarters. Prices will begin to normalize, but it will take some time and some pain.

Q: How will the mortgage industry be different now that the housing boom has ended?

A: It'll be a much simpler world. We're not going to see as many complex loans because there are no takers. Going forward, you'll see more prudent lending, with borrowers having more down payments. It'll be a more traditional environment than you've seen over the past five or six years.

The there was this from a famous builder in Florida...

Florida home builder Arthur Rutenberg, 80, says you can take it to the bank: The home-building bust is at or near bottom.

"Anyone who buys a home right now will say in five years, 'I'm glad we bought when we did,' " Rutenberg says.

Still active in the business, the developer spoke while inspecting a newly completed $1.5 million Arthur Rutenberg Homes luxury model in Orlando. Rutenberg remains chairman of Arthur Rutenberg Homes Inc., which has 32 franchised home building operations in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Rutenberg said the current building bust is especially deep because the run-up in prices and sales that preceded it was so robust. As a result, it takes a little longer to get prices and annual growth "back to a long-term trend line," he says

Finally, this bit of optimistic news came from the daily Realty times feed that I get...

Look around at blogs and news sites around the real estate side of the Internet and you'll see there's a lot of buzz about hitting the bottom in the condo market in various regions of the country.

J.P. Morgan Chase economist James Glassman argues in a new report linked from the Wall Street Journal's Real Time Economics blog that "most of the necessary decline in home prices has already occurred. 'Given the present trends in income and house prices, real estate excesses of the past five years will have vanished by spring 2008'" he says.

Matt Moroney, executive director of the Metropolitan Builders Association in Milwaukee, says, "We're cautiously optimistic that we've hit the bottom," quoted in the Small Business Times.

As a full-time realtor, all I can say is IT"S ABOUT TIME! I sure hope these people are right and that the housing bust that we've been in for the past 2-3 years is about to end. I can't say that I see that yet, but I am seeing more buyers out looking and that's a good thing. There are still lots of great bargains out there, so it's a good time to be a buyer. For sellers, maybe this is at least a time to get in when the values aren't going to continue to drop so much.

Like I said in yesterday’s post, you don’t want to look back at this time as your coulda, woulda, shoulda moment, as far as real estate is concerned. Get in, get active and get a deal while they’re still out there.

P.S. Several of you got the right answer to yesterday’s trivia question about Digital Research. They were the company that had he only competitor to Microsoft’s DOS operating system for PC’s back in the 80’s– CP/M (Control Program for Microprocessors). They are now just one of the computing industries coulda, woulda, shoulda trivia footnotes.

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