Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Good Food Served With Good News on Turkey Day

Attitude is not everything, because the most positive attitude alone will not help us pull out of our current economic crisis. A positive attitude accounts for a lot. A positive attitude is the starting point for success, but more importantly, a positive attitude, teamed with a focused strategic plan AND action can become an unstoppable force.

Let's get busy.

Each Tuesday morning, at Real Estate One in Ann Arbor, MI, we hold an office business meeting of probably 50 to 75 full-time agents who are in the marketplace every day. A good chunk of these meetings focus on a market 'pulse' of what we experience, what other people tell us, and more importantly, how we respond, and what our approach is to the marketplace. It is somewhat natural, and very easy to go with the flow of our endless bombardment of bad news, and perpetuate a "woe is me" mentality. Or, we can go out into our individual worlds, and 'be the change' that we want to see. We can achieve that by maintaining focus on the fundamental elements of the real estate market here and now: If you want to buy, it is a great time, and there are lots of financing options available. If you need to sell, you will take a hit. However, if you are selling a house in Ann Arbor, you will take less of a hit than you would if your house were in many other markets, and chances are you will get a better deal in your new location.

Stepping back for a bit wider view, several of us agents see the mountain in front of us, and are choosing to climb the mountain rather than lay down and die at the foot of the mountain or whine about how big the mountain is. When we are bellying up to the Thanksgiving table, filling our plates with a Michael Phelpsian sized meal, you will not hear us say that the market sucks even though the market does suck. You WILL hear us talk about climbing the mountain with a focused plan. You will hear us talk about the proactive plan being advanced by the National Association of Realtors to stabilize and stimulate the real estate market on a national level.

The NAR® has recommended to Congress a four-point plan to stimulate home sales and stabilize housing valuations. The four-point plan’s principles are consumer-driven to help foster a housing recovery to support an economic rebound. Here are the 4 Points:

1) Eliminate the repayment piece of the first-time home buyer tax credit that was passed in the February stimulus bill, and to expand the tax credit to include all home buyers.

2) Making the increased FHA and conventional loan limits permanent to stimulate home sales and stabilize prices.

3) Urge that the Troubled Asset Relief Program be put back on track by targeting the funds for mortgage relief through a mortgage interest rate buy-down.

4) Finalize legislation to prohibit banks from entering into the business of real estate brokerage and property management.

I'm very pleased that the NAR leadership has decided to be proactive, unlike some other business leaders that come to mind.

Positive attitude is step 1. A solid, focused Plan of Action is step 2. Implementation of the plan is step 3. I hope you will join me in taking these 3 steps, which will lead you to a great 2009!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tell Us Something We Didn't Know

It's definitely always nice to receive third party validation of something you know in your heart. For the third time this year, Ann Arbor has been named by a notable publication, as one of the best places to live in the United States. This article, on gives all the highlights of the ranking.

While we have our share of difficulties, being both in Michigan, and somewhat in the shadow of Detroit, Ann Arbor is a spirit filled, vibrant, enthusiastic, optimistic, and energetic town. I'm very proud to call Ann Arbor home. While I have had multiple opportunities to move elsewhere, I cannot think of anyplace I would rather live and raise my kids.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

October 2008 Ann Arbor Condo Sales Report

Good News: Unit sales up 31% over last year. Bad News: Median sales price down almost 16% over October 2007, and down an average 1.06% per month for 2008 YTD.

Here are the latest statistics from the Ann Arbor Board of Realtors. These numbers are for Condominiums. Please see earlier post for Single Family Home sales statistics.

Condo Listings in October 2007: 169
Condo Listings in October 2008: 146
Decrease: 13.7%

Condo Listings Y.T.D. 2007: 2,421
Condo Listings Y.T.D. 2008: 1,753
Decrease: 17.6%

Condo Sales Oct. 2007: 42
Condo Sales Oct. 2008: 55
Increase: 31%

Condo Sales Y.T.D. 2007: 574
Condo Sales Y.T.D. 2008: 532
Decrease: 7.4%

Condo Avg. Days on Market Oct. 2007: 90
Condo Avg. Days on Market Oct.. 2008: 115

Condo Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2007: 86
Condo Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2008: 165

Condo Median Sales Price Oct. 2007: $160,500
Condo Median Sales Price Oct. 2008: $135,000
Decrease: 15.9%

Condo Median Sales Price Y.T.D. 2007: $159,000
Condo Median Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $142,250
Decrease: 10.6%

Monday, November 10, 2008

October 2008 Ann Arbor Home Sales Report

Good News: Sales, in units, are up over a year ago, and are flat year to date. Bad News: Average sales price is down over 20% from October 2007, and YTD comparison shows 13.7% average sales price decline.

Here are the latest statistics from the Ann Arbor Board of Realtors. These numbers are for Single Family Homes (SFH) Residential, and do not include condominiums:

SFH Listings in October 2007: 776
SFH Listings in October 2008: 655
Decrease: 16.6%

SFH Listings Y.T.D. 2007: 10,069
SFH Listings Y.T.D. 2008: 7,677
Decrease: 25.8%

SFH Sales October 2007: 232
SFH Sales October 2008: 249
Increase: 7.3%

SFH Sales Y.T.D. 2007: 2,610
SFH Sales Y.T.D. 2008: 2,648
Increase: 0.014%

SFH Avg. Days on Market Oct. 2007: 80
SFH Avg. Days on Market Oct. 2008: 70

SFH Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2007: 77
SFH Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2008: 81

SFH Avg. Sales Price Oct. 2007: $233,858
SFH Avg. Sales Price Oct. 2008: $186,324
Decrease: 20.4%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2007: $251,128
SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $216,833
Decrease: 13.7%

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Why I Don't Post More Frequently

Here's the deal: My original vision for this blog was for it to be a valuable source for news and information primarily about real estate, but also including information about business growth in the Ann Arbor area.

Well, little did I know when I created the blog that the housing market would take the turn that it has. The internet and news is saturated with the negative news out of the real estate industry. I saw, and still see no point in perpetuating the bad news. There is plenty of it elsewhere.

Likewise on the business growth front. There was a time when there was significant 'buzz' in the area about job growth, or about new businesses coming to town. I felt it possible for me to add information that would not readily have been published elsewhere. Now, while I would not call these job growth as 'back door deals', whatever 'buzz' there may have been in the past has simply turned into downright speculation, and anyone who claims to know the inside track is either lying or delusional.

The attraction of companies and jobs now often require the involvement of politicians and local business leaders, because these deals almost always involved tax or other incentives. All the principals keep these deals very close to the vest, and they are never published until after the fact.

These two changes in the landscape have caused me to rethink my goals for the blog. I am involved in several other exciting projects and ventures, but somehow don't think that this subject matter would be a good fit. I am seriously considering a few 'Spin-off' Blogs that are more closely focused on individual topics.

In the meantime, I know I have a growing following, and for that, I am deeply appreciative. Bottom line, I don't want to Blog to see myself writing. I think that writing exclusively about Ann Arbor area real estate is duller than dishwater.

Still searching for a comfortable Blog 'voice', I wish, hope, and pray that all your dreams come true!