Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Year of the Serious Homebuyer

2008 has arrived and it is time to hit the ground running. All signs are pointing towards a recovering market as even the hardest hit sections of the country have shown signs of improvement. We should, however, pay much closer attention to the San Francisco market. Laurence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, likens national real estate reports to a national weather report. What an excellent visual.

How many times have you seen that map of the United States with thunder showers over the northeast and sunshine over good old California. What is happening across the country will not help you decide if you should wear an extra sweater or throw on a scarf. You need the local report for that. The weather even varies in the Bay Area; San Francisco may be foggy while the South Bay is sunny and warm. Even in San Francisco we have micro climates. You can sit outside a cafe in sunny Potrero Hill and watch the fog roll in over Twin Peaks. Real estate is no different. If you want to know what is happening in the area you wish to buy, look at the data from that area.

Along with his brilliant analogy, Yun also made some predictions. He sees appreciation getting back to a normal pattern in 2009. This gives serious homeowners a window; an opportunity to get in while prices stay level and interest rates stay low. He attributes much of the problem with the sub prime market to greed. Greed on the part of the lenders to make the deal and get a higher return. Greed on the part of homeowners to buy more than they could afford, and greed of real estate professionals who let it happen in the interest of making a deal. This year, greed will pass and the serious home buyers will step in taking full advantage of the situation.

If all of the San Francisco real estate agents are like us, they have a long list of clients who were waiting for the new year to kick their search into high gear. The new year has arrived. Our schedule is already filling up with property tours; now we are just waiting for the properties to hit the market.

We are excited to see what the year brings. In the meantime, we promise to continue our reports and keep you informed on our local climate.

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