Is 2012 the year of the housing recovery? Well, according to a series of regional events that recently attracted nearly 20,000 RE/MAX agents, a single audience of over 4,000 from more than 50 countries around the world, the answer is yes.
Although not sure I completely am buying it, I am not real estate agent in the trenches getting more commission this year, and I am not the analyst with the numbers to back the claim. But I do appreciate the positive attitudes and eagerness from the residential community.
At the RE/MAX events mentioned for example, held in Las Vegas, the message from RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly was clear, the energy of the housing market is now moving in a positive direction. “We’re seeing many positive signs of a recovering marketplace,” Kelly said. “The spring buying season has started early this year and is setting the stage for a great story in 2012.”
Kelly cited improving economic conditions and falling inventories, which are resulting in multiple offers on homes for sale in several communities.
Marking the company’s 39th anniversary, Kelly pleased the crowd with two innovative technology announcements. The RE/MAX Mobile App is a new generation of mobile search technology now available for iPhone and Android users. In addition, RE/MAX has signed a marketing agreement with LTech to provide a discounted suite of Google Business Apps to RE/MAX agents and offices, the first such offering to a real estate organization.
Then I go and read an upbeat report from HouseHunt that says that the end of the tunnel has met the light. Most of the buoyant attitude in the report stems from tighter inventory and houses not remaining as long on the market. Of agents reporting, 38% said inventory was tight in their cities, compared to 32% in the fourth quarter of 2011 and 13% at the beginning of last year. Regarding time on the market, 30% reported houses selling in 60 days or less, compared to 22% in the previous quarter and 10% at the beginning of 2011.
Always a skeptic, my skepticism in this case about “not completely buying it,” isn’t completely unfounded. According to a recent GlobeSt.com article by fellow reporter Erika Morphy, the results of a recent housing scorecard put out by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury were mixed and reflective of the still-fragile economic environment. And according to Joel Ross, principal with Citadel Realty Advisors, there will be at least another year, and probably more than that, of struggle in the housing market.
No doubt there is still much misery in the housing market, Ross previously told GlobeSt.com—at all income levels. Unfortunately, government initiatives will propel the market only so far, he said. “The foreclosed houses, the ones sold via short sales and REO, all need to be worked through the system,” he says. “This will be a slow process because home buyers are finding it harder to get a mortgage now.”
So, for those of you out there, getting your jumpstart on spring housing sales, as RE/MAX put it, are you finding it hard or easy to get that mortgage, and is now the time to buy? (If so, is it bad that I made that gamble last year?)