Economic Crystal Balls -- Are They a Bit Foggy?

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Allegiance, Managing Broker/Branch Vice President

Brian Block speaks about real estate to local Kiwanis ClubUndoubtedly, it's the number one question that I hear every day.  Week in and week out.  Clients ask it.  Potential clients ask it.  Friends, family, even strangers ask me.  A dozen Kiwanis Club members asked me last week when I spoke about real estate to their group.


Yes, that question is:  Where's the real estate market going?  What will the future bring?  Are we at the bottom?  Are prices going down?  What about foreclosures?  How's the general economy effect the real estate market?  Are you keeping busy?  Times must be slow?

Okay, that's actually 8 questions, but in reality they're all encompassed in that first general purpose query.

This past week, I attended the 12th Annual Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS Economic Summit held at George Mason University.  Since I've been in real estate, I've attended this summit every year and in the past have been active in helping to plan and organize the meetings.  It's a don't miss event for real estate professionals seeking to understand where we've been, where we are, and where we're heading in the economy and the regional real estate market.

Four economists spoke this year at the Summit:  Dr. David Seiders (Chief Economist of the National Association of Home Builders), Dr. Jed Smith (Managing Director of Quantitative Research for the National Association of REALTORS), Dr. Doug Duncan (Chief Economist of Fannie Mae), and Dr. Stephen Fuller (Director, Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University).

Crystal Ball



Each of them presented their views of the current U.S. economy and the economy of the Washington D.C. area.  While all of them agreed on where we have been, there was some disagreement of where we are and where we're going.  All predict a recovery for the economy and the local housing market -- but disagree on when, how quickly, and how robust.




Here's a few quotes from my notes on the Summit:

"Stability in existing home sales has been achieved" -- Dr. David Seiders

"Supply and demand is mostly in balance and we're getting to the end of the tunnel"  -- Dr. Jed Smith

"The economy is in position to quickly turn around and grow" -- Dr. Stephen Fuller

All in all, despite some fog within the crystal ball of each prognosticator, the mood was one of overall optimism.

View the PowerPoint presentations from the Economic Summit



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Pippa Mac
Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring - The Woodlands, TX
The Woodlands TX Real Estate

Brian ... thanks for sharing about your real estate meeting!  Were you speaking in the photo of you?

Sep 13, 2008 07:55 AM #1
Martha Brown
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Annapolis MD 21403 - Annapolis, MD
Your Homes Around Annapolis Agent

Brian- having watched prices fall at alarming speed over the summer my thoughts have been that we are heading to the bottom very quickly. I made mention of that to a perspective buyer of a $1.8 mil listing I was showing him and this is what he said- 'the fall has been very swift but I do not think we are at the bottom just yet, but very, very close. That is why I am out here today shopping for a new home'. Interesting from a consumers viewpoint for sure.

Sep 13, 2008 08:14 AM #2
Christopher and Stephanie Somers - Realtors - Philadelphia Real Estate
Realtor / Owner - RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA


Excellent post !  The bottom line is that this "mysterious bottom" is near.  Is an excellent time for a homebuyer and an investor to procure properties, even more so now with mortgage rates being low.  I think those people that will wait for the bottom to hit will be missing the point because by that time, prices will already be up !  There will be more competition and so forth.  The nice thing about buying real estate versus a stock is that the timing is not nearly as crucial in this stage of the game.  Besides the real estate accomplishes so many other goals besides a piece of paper.


Sep 13, 2008 08:41 AM #3
Sharon Sapp
Century 21 Gold - Reading, PA
For Old Fashioned Service with Today's Results!

Brian, I, too, have an optimistic viewpoint that we are at or close to the bottom. I have some very savy buyers that also feel that way. It is a fantastic opportunity to buy but it's also a great time to sell a nice, reasonably priced home. For those that need to sell before they buy, if it's priced for this market, so will their new home be priced to buy. It's a win-win for smart sellers today, also!

Oct 07, 2008 06:08 AM #5
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Brian Block

Northern Virginia & D.C. Real Estate
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