It's easy to imagine that Warren County's real estate market is depressed and suffering; after all, the evening news is loaded with negative soundbites from around the country and our local reporters are really no better.
This morning , the president of our Waren County Association of Realtors , Mark Bergman, told a room of Realtors about his experiences with reporters this year. On 7 out of 10 interviews given this year, the reporter led with questions designed to support his story on our suffering real estate economy. " I understand that our foreclosure rate in the county has increased dramatically, could you elaborate a bit on that? BERGMAN: In 2007 1% of our listed properties were in foreclosure and in 2008 the rate is 1.25%. This is a non story. Yes , we have more houses on the market than last year, but it is hardly a story.
Are we suffering? Is real estate in the tank? Have our home prices fallen dramatically? No! No! No!, Statistics in the county show a dip in median home prices of somewhere around 3 to 7%.
Can people still borrow money to buy houses? The answer is yes! Folks with good credit can buy whatever they can afford. The real estate mortgage market is actually quite similar to what it was 10 years ago. Once again the consumer has to prove that they can actually afford to buy a home. What a weird idea? Huh? Consumers whose debt to income ratios are too high and people without strong employment histories are going to have difficulty purchasing.
All in all, my opinion is that during the first half of 2009 inventories will begin to shrink and by the fall, prices will begin rising again and we will be very close to having a balanced market. Interest rates will gradually rise and people will be wishing they bought earlier.