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Global Warming and the Real Estate Market

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Posted 08-19-2010 at 11:51 AM by Roy Sanborn
Updated 08-24-2010 at 11:10 PM by Roy Sanborn

The Concord Monitor reported last week that “Statewide residential sales fell (in NH) nearly 32% in July from a year earlier… the steepest annual decline in more than two years…” Yes, July was not a particularly great month for home sales in NH or for that matter anywhere else, but why does everyone have to focus so much on every little negative turn? In the Lakes Region of NH, the towns in this report were only down about 10% last month compared to last July, but more importantly on a 12 month rolling basis our area is up 15% over the previous 12 month period. While we should keep a cautious eye on monthly housing statistics, a one month decline does not make a trend. The average sales price for the 12 month period ending July 31, 2010 stood at $307,881 compared to $292,502 for the period ending July 31, 2009. The average sales price in July only was slightly less at $262,390, but that is no cause for alarm; it is a reflection of what sold that month.

I don’t believe in the whole global warming thing, but I do agree with the latest legislation coming out of Washington. The Real Estate Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Stimulus Act of 2011 is intended to deal with home buyers who have run amuck and are contributing enormous amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere thereby hastening the demise of modern civilization as we know it. Many of the agents that I have talked to over the past several weeks are becoming increasing frustrated in dealing with buyers that seem to be doing nothing more than increasing their carbon footprint. I know they have been increasing mine. This timely legislation targets three major types of home buyers that are negatively affecting our future on planet earth:

1. The largest group are the buyers that need to sell something before they can buy. While these buyers have always existed, historically they were able to sell their homes in a reasonable period and purchase another. Now, it could take several years. Many of these buyers don’t even have their homes on the market. The legislation will require these buyers to stay home and stop burning fossil fuels to look at property unless their property is on the market at a price that is enough of a value that someone will actually buy it. These buyers not only are wasting precious natural resources themselves, they set into motion a chain reaction of events that causes the home owner, the listing agent, and their agent to do the same.

2. The next group of buyers targeted are those that can’t make up their minds…ever. These buyers usually start off by saying that they have been looking for quite awhile but can’t seem to find the right house. Many times they are seeking a vacation home and revisit this doomed exercise every summer. They show up at the height of the season, look at every possibility in a given price range, and then disappear without a farewell only to resurface next year to start all over again. They are looking for that “perfect” home. This legislation finally puts it in writing for the buyer; “There is no such thing as a perfect home.” I know I am not increasing my carbon footprint anymore for these types of buyers. If I am going to show them property, they better have a nice car
because I am riding with them!

3. The last group of buyers are convinced that all homes are overpriced. The REGHGR&S Act will require buyers to complete an eight hour “pre-house search value course” designed to teach them what a fair price actually is. Special emphasis is put on teaching buyers that not every home can be bought for one half of the listing price. It is estimated that this will cut the time required to find a home in half saving 13 trillion tons of carbon dioxide per year from being belched into the atmosphere. Over the past three years, this group of buyers has been responsible for a 1.7 degree increase in the average annual temperature.

This act also eliminates the use of multiple vehicles to look at property---every seat in the primary vehicle must be occupied before another vehicle can be utilized. I’ve been to some showings where you’d think it was a presidential motorcade coming to look at a property. I could tell that it wasn’t because the cars weren’t shiny black and the guys in the lead cars didn’t have three piece suits and sunglasses. But you get the idea. Why do you need six cars? Cousin Eddie doesn’t need to see the house until after you buy it. The act requires that at least one of the buyers looking for property to be in the same car as the agent. Imagine that, getting back to basics by having the buyer actually spending time with his agent, in person, discussing his needs.

The Real Estate Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Stimulus Act of 2011 has many provisions that will not only be good for the environment, but will also revive the housing market. The “Stimulus” part of the Act requires buyers to sign a contract stating that they will buy a home after completing a tour of no more than twelve properties in their stated price range. Buyers will have an option to purchase Carbon Tax Credits in lieu of purchasing a home at the end of the contract period. These Tax Credits will be transferred to the real estate agent to compensate him for his increased carbon foot print. The only exception to this is if the buyer has a Chevrolet Volt which will limit the whole real estate tour to 40 miles anyway.

Good plan (too bad it isn’t real)…

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