When we look back on 2012 a long time from now, it may be viewed as the first year of the recovery, the year in which real estate reversed its course and moved in a more positive direction.
With that in mind, here are 13 reasons — courtesy of REALTOR® Magazine’s online news — why real estate pros can look forward to next year:
1. There’s greater optimism about increasing home values.
2. More new households are forming.
3. Home shoppers are feeling a greater sense of urgency.
4. Home ownership remains a goal of members of the Millennial generation.
5. Foreclosure starts are falling to pre-housing-bust levels.
6. Interest rates should remain low through next year’s selling season.
7. Loan demand for home purchases is climbing.
8. More Americans say it’s a good time to sell.
9. The number of improving housing markets is going up.
10. Job creation is expected to provide a much-needed boost to the commercial sector.
12. As housing values rise and equity returns, fewer home owners are underwater.
13. Real estate is contributing to an overall economic recovery.
That’s not to say there aren’t challenges. Lending remains tight, there’s a large foreclosure backlog, and regulatory challenges and the fiscal cliff loom ahead. But on balance, real estate appears to have a bright future in 2013.
By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
A new survey conducted by WSL/Strategic Retail shows families in many parts of the country can’t even live comfortably on a six-figure household income. Additionally, more than half of respondents say they’re struggling just to meet their basic needs.
The study asked participants to put themselves in one of four categories:
▪ I can’t even afford the basics.
▪ I can barely afford the basics and nothing else.
▪ I can afford the basics plus some extras.
▪ I can afford the basics and the extras, and I’m able to save, too.
Nearly a third of American households earning between $100,000-150,000 report that they can only afford the basics; $150,000 seems to be a threshold of sorts, as 88 percent of households earning this amount say they can buy the basics and extras, then save money. But that’s also a great deal of money — about three times the median income in the United States — and fewer than 10 percent of all households earn that much. Continue reading »
By Wendy Cole, Senior Editor, REALTOR Magazine®
Sustained job growth and improved access to capital are the two roadblocks to gettting the economy back on track, Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay, Jr. (D–Mo.) told the Equal Opportunity-Cultural Diversity Forum Tuesday at NAR’s 2011 Midyear Legislative Meetings. Since 2007, 8.4 million jobs have been lost, he said. “While 244,000 jobs were created last month, this country requires a good deal of momentun for the economy to prosper,” Clay said.
He implored attendees to “mobilize, organize and, in the words of social reformer Frederick Douglass agitate, agitate, agitate” to further the interests of the real estate industry. He concedes that proposed legislation to require home buyers to make 20 percent downpayments could be an “overreach” in an effort to counter lax standards that contributed to the housing downturn. Clay encouraged real estate pros to reach out to members of Congress to raise their concerns about issues that could adversely affect home ownership, including challenges to the MID, GSE reform, and the impact of short sales on credit scores.