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2010 Lake Region Real Estate/Weather Forecast

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Posted 01-07-2011 at 02:51 PM by Roy Sanborn

As of January 1, 2011 there were 940 homes on the market in the communities in this Lakes Region real estate report. That’s down from the 1070 homes on the market last month, but up from the 869 homes on the market as of January 1, 2010. While the total number of homes on the market is currently higher than last year, we have had an increase in the number of sales. That effectively drops the supply down to a 12 month’s worth of homes on the market compared to 14.5 months worth last January 1. That’s about as low as I’ve seen it in a long time. Unfortunately, the inventory always seems to creep back up over the year. The average asking price stood at $532,320 and the median was $279,000 compared to an average of $613,371 and a median of $299,900 last January 1.

This is the time of year that everyone tries to forecast the market for the coming year. I’m not sure how they do it, but I bet there are some pretty big computers whirring away looking at sales trends, foreclosures, and economic indicators of every kind. I’m not sure if it is easier or worse than trying to predict the weather beyond a five day forecast, but there must be a lot of similarities in calculating this kind of thing. Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, anticipates that home sales will rise anywhere from 5 to 10% in 2011 with the catalyst being the improving economy and job creation. That’s the fair weather part of the forecast. The stormy part is that many industry watchers are expecting another year of record foreclosures. Many banks have put foreclosures on hold during the last two months of 2010 and are expected to push them through in the first quarter of 2010. There is a huge shadow inventory of homes, perhaps up to two million homes nationwide, that are on the verge of being repossessed and will be hitting the market at some point. That is a little scary to say the least and it undoubtedly will hold down home prices for some time.

But real estate, like the weather, is very regional. So what is the forecast for NH? Well, I have answers. My son, Jeff, bought my wife a new wireless weather station and it got me thinking. The remote sensor is outside beside my old thermometer. We also have a “weather stick” on the wall out there. A weather stick is a debarked branch of balsam pine about a foot long. If it is going to rain or snow the stick bends down. If it is fair weather the stick bends up. It really works well. We’ve also got one of those glass bulb barometers that hangs on the wall. You know the kind with the colored water in it and the spout that nearly overflows when a storm approaches. Since my son is a computer guru at the astronomy department at BU, I had him put sensors on these instruments, wired them to my computer, tied that into the database for the National Association of REALTORS®, hacked into Fannie Mae’s database (that wasn’t hard), and the Old Farmer’s Almanac (it doesn’t seem right that they are on-line). We also hooked into the computer that runs the celestial telescope at Boston University because everyone knows that good things happen if the stars are aligned just right.

Jeff did a little programming on the computer—it was somewhat more complicated than programming the remote that runs my video components (he does that, too). He then pushed the alt, control, shift, F2 keys, which took two hands, and the program started. Pretty soon we started getting predictions out of the thing.

1. If you own a waterfront property in the Lakes Region, the lake will freeze in front of your house.

2. If you own a home in the Lakes Region, you will have to shovel your walkway at least three times this winter.

3. If you own a home in the Lakes Region, you will lose power at your house dues to high winds, an ice storm, or some dumb fool running into a utility pole at least once this winter.

While real estate related, these predictions were not quite what we were looking for, so some modifications were made to the program. We honed in a little more and got:

1. Interest rates will go up in 2011. They can’t stay as low as they are, but they will still be a great deal compared to the past.

2. Lakes Region home sales will improve in 2011. Vacation and waterfront home sales will continue to tick upward. People really do want to live and vacation here.

3. There will still be some fantastic deals in all price ranges. Home affordability will continue to be at all time highs.

4. “Transactionally sophisticated” buyers and sellers(that’s a new term coined by Tara-Nicole Nelson of Inman News) will have great success in the real estate market in 2011. They understand and grasp the current market conditions and know what it takes to get though the buying or selling process. They know that buying a home is a long term (and sound) investment and that they need to be very “strategic, resourceful, and adept with information”. The ”transactionally sophisticated” seller understands that his house is not worth what it was three or four years ago and knows that he may need to help buyers overcome many hurdles in the home purchasing process.

5. There will be tremendous opportunities for both buyers and sellers in 2011. Want to know where? Call your REALTOR®.

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