For our State of the Market Issue, we wanted to hear what CA readers think about what’s going on in the real estate industry right now. We had an overwhelming response to our survey, some with positive thoughts, while others were a little more negative. Take a look at what Realtors throughout the Chicagoland area had to say about our industry right now.
Pricing is more attractive to buyers, a “feeling” that we have reached the bottom seems to be prevalent in the marketplace. Interest rates are very good and the $8,000 tax credit, for those who qualify, is a great incentive to become an owner instead of a renter. These are all reasons for the increase in showings, offers and closings in the past six weeks. Catherine Brennan – Sudler Sotheby’s International Realty In the near western suburbs – Berwyn, Brookfield, Westchester and Lagrange Park – we show an upward trend in increased traffic and showings, but buyers are still hesitant to commit to purchasing a regular-priced home. The trend is that the bargain short sales and REO’s are selling quickly with short market times or as soon as they come on the market. I can see no change in the coming months to regular home sales and expect market time to remain the same for at least another six to 10 months based on this past year’s trend, the economy and the next wave of expected foreclosures at summers end. While many more bargains are coming for buyers, regular home sellers will not see relief for quite some time. Christine Moscinski – “The House Hunters” Team GOBBER – GMAC Real Estate Although I have a little surge in business now, I believe we will go through our normal seasonal slowdown once the “summer rush” is over and the school season begins. Judy Orr – Classic Realty Group My personal sales activity increased at the beginning of the spring season, but they have definitely declined in this summer selling season. I have grown my customer base, but for a myriad of reasons the buyers are still standing on the sidelines. Joseph Washick – Century 21 Hallmark, Ltd. I have been blessed to see a huge jump in buyer clients this year, which has by far exceeded any volume losses on the sell side. With all my buyers, the tax credit is the tipping point that led them to purchase now instead of waiting. Brad Kosar – Helios Real Living Buyers are finally becoming more comfortable making the decision to buy. Low interest rates and opportunities to get a great price on a home are the deciding factors. On the other hand, sellers are still reluctant to concede that their home values have dropped since our robust surge in 2001-2005. This contributes to the longevity of the home being on the market. The message is slowly getting across and more and more homes are being sold and closed as a result. I see the market very slowly leveling off by the end of 2009. Kathy Peters – Coldwell Banker We’ve definitely noticed traffic increasing across the board. We are seeing showing requests and activity at levels you would typically see in a spring market. It is as if the spring market never sprung and now the buyers are there. Dan Merrion – City Point Realty Business is up for residential, but it is almost exclusively short sales and foreclosure business. Until the market reduces the number of these, the regular listings have little chance. I have a good number of buyer clients that refuse to even look at regular listings. Sales are up, but prices are down and thus commissions are smaller, and short sales take longer. John Lee Bingham – Century21 SGR After the window closes for the first-time buyer tax credit, sales will drop significantly. Rising numbers of foreclosures and other distressed properties will continue to reduce property values and scare more buyers away. Unfortunately, this will create more distressed properties, etc. Douglas J. Kowalewski – Exit Platinum Realty I think the market is stabilizing to a certain degree, but the offers and general opinion is still that the market is declining. The buyers are feeling they have a great deal of value, more than normal, so therefore the price should be what they dictate rather than what the market is showing. We need some advertising that the market is recovering. The condo market is awful and financing has to be offered to these people. I understand PMI is very difficult to get, and that the market is still tanking. Jan McNulty – RE/MAX Suburban The market is absorbing those properties that continue to be marketed at the right price. If you are not willing to re-price after a certain amount of time, the market will move away from you. Jim Roth – The Real Estate Group