State of the Real Estate Market: Attitude is Everything

Over the years I’ve learned people fall into one of two groups: glass half full or glass half empty. My mother-in-law was the epitome of the former. Let me correct that — her cup, as my husband told me, wasn’t just half full, it runneth over, even during hard times. And she had many.

In addition to being a Depression-era child, Babe witnessed the tragic death of her eldest granddaughter at age 16 and lost her husband of over 40 years after his third heart attack.

Years later when Parkinson’s Disease insidiously debilitated her muscles, my husband asked her how she was doing. She said, “Well, I can’t walk anymore, but that’s OK. I have a good wheelchair!” Always possessing a positive outlook, she never seemed to have any trouble counting her blessings.

The media, I feel, can take a lesson from Babe (as she was affectionately known by family and close friends, so named by her future husband because he thought she was such a good-looking babe!) .

As a graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, I know the news has to be reported. But interpretation, I think, can instill confidence and hope or just as easily send a depressing message.

I am not unrealistic about the economy or the hardships of those unfortunate to lose their jobs. However, there is good news and opportunity that I  do not think is being properly reported, which is an injustice to the consumer.

Over the last 10 years, rates have consistently come down and now are at an almost all-time low. The chart here from Stefan Swanepol’s RealTrends 2012 clearly shows the downward trend of mortgage rates. The affordability index has never been better. For the same payment of 10 years ago, buyers can now buy more house.  Alternately, the same house now costs much less monthly.

That is the first piece of good news. The second opportunity is that prices are good — and affordable. That, coupled with lower interest rates, makes housing even more affordable. Homeownership is within the hands of many who formerly were priced out of the market — if they only knew!

And the last piece of good news is that there is a good inventory of choices. All of these items should align for unparalleled opportunity. Yet the media, in my opinion, has not done a good job of informing the public.

This is not an original notice on my part. New York State Realtor of the Year Don Radke, and outgoing President of the Greater Syracuse Association of Realtors, highlighted these facts in his speech earlier this month at the GSAR Installation Dinner. As he said, the stars and the moon are aligning for opportunity never before seen.

Real estate is local. And locally, opportunity knocks. Yes there are REO’s and short sales, but not in the unparalleled numbers seen in other areas of the country.

They exist, just as my mother-in-law’s disease was a reality. But, like her, I choose to look at the positives and grab opportunity while it is here in the present, rather than wait for interest rates or prices to rise. I think the opportunities offered today is a cup running over, not just one half full — if you choose to find it, for both homeowners and investors alike.

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