Most mornings I read the local newspaper while listening to the National TV news, and more often than not I am bombarded with messages from the media about how bad the real estate market is right now. Stores seem endless about sellers who cannot get their homes sold, about how values are unstable, and how you be "crazy" to be a buyer in this market. (Yes, the guest on one morning program actually used the word "Crazy".)
And admittedly, there are many markets experiencing major corrections. But with values in some markets rising 20... 30....50% annually in recent years... Well, we all knew it was bound to happen at some point.
But in Des Moines, we always seem to march to a bit of our own beat. While the markets have appreciated nicely for many years now, we have not experienced the outlandish gains other markets have experienced. Yes, 3 or 4 percent yearly appreciation isn't sexy. But it is sustainable, and in the end that is rewarding to our market.
So where does that leave us, in light of all the doom and gloom we are hearing at the national level? Turns out, there is good news that you need to know about.
Smartmoney magazine, in its' December 07 issue, ranked the Des Moines market as one of the few markets in the country to be undervalued. You read right, under-valued, and by about 4% according to their estimate. The writers at the magazine, in concert with the economists behind the research, have put in black and white what we have known for years. Simply put, Des Moines is an oasis of prosperity, which does not necessarily follow the national trends.
Now, amazingly, I did hear, or read, a single account of this report in the local media. (Maybe I missed it, but the pessimist in me says probably not.) So I thought I would take a moment to let you know about this good news
This report highlights that "Now" really is a great time to be a making a move in the Des Moines market. I know with all the information being reported on other markets, not everyone is convinced of this. In fact, I have had several customers ask if I thought they would be "crazy" for wanting to make a move. (Ok, they must have seen the same interview as I did??) To those clients, I say absolutely not.
I admit our market is not the same as it was, one or two years ago. 2007 brought us a return to historical levels in terms of the number of property transfers. And that has put a crunch on inventory, particularly in certain segments of the market. But lets not confuse a "changing market" with a "bad market".
So if you are thinking of buying a home, get out there. Rates are low, and inventory is plentiful. And if you already own a home, don't let the fear of taking a little less for your current home hold you back. You will more than make up for any reduced sales price on the negotiations on your buying side.
With the data showing that our market could be undervalued, we may look back on this time as one of the great buying opportunities of recent years. If that turn out to be the case, I doubt anyone will be calling you crazy then!
Brian Wentz & Beth Ernst