Sunday, March 4, 2012


Hang on to your hats for this month's column because there is going to be a lot of information to absorb, nearly all of it positive!  Many reports have emerged as we began 2012 that would seem to indicate that the economy is, in fact, getting better.  Last month we quoted an economist that said the economy would improve, but that it wouldn't "feel like it did."  Well guess what?  It is noticeable.  Jonathan Lansner, who has been particularly pessimistic, in general and specifically to real estate, has written several recent articles that have been...well, encouraging.  National job stats say we added 243,000 jobs in January, and unemployment dove to a 2 year low of 8.3%.  Orange County, according to Lansner, added 40,000 in December.  That's the largest increase in Orange County, "working folks since January 2001 -- yes, 11 years ago."  The stock market had its best rally in over 4 years, returning to pre 2008 levels and has seemingly stabilized and is inching slightly upward.  What other intrinsic factors have led to everyone "feeling better?"  There isn't enough space in this newsletter to deconstruct all the elements of this now slow but steady recovery.  However, let's hone in on the real estate side.  First of all, interest rates... The fed's decision to keep them low through 2014 was met with a positive rally on Wall Street.  Buyers are willing and able to buy.  In fact, there are inventory issues, as in, not enough product to go around.  A seeming paradox is prices dipping slightly even with increasing demand.  Wild stuff.  But if a property is properly priced, expect multiple offers if you're a seller, and increased demand if you're a buyer.  Obviously there are exceptions to this depending on condition and location of the properties.  California added more construction jobs than any other state in the country for the past year.  Construction is a very important indicator of recovery for California.  Generally speaking, the first sign of recovery is car sales, check mark here, as last year was a banner year, particularly for Detroit.  After cars come houses, and new ones are a part of that.  There were only 302,000 new homes sold in the US in 2011, according to the Commerce Department.  And that was the worst year since 1963.  So construction coming back in California... Awesome! 


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