January 13, 2013

The Dramas Continue To Grow More Absurd

Readers suggested a topic on the growing insanity. “Is the plan on to mint the trillion dollar platinum coin? Is the stock market bull too full of testosterone for his own good? Can low mortgage rates last indefinitely? Is the real estate market in your area experiencing a healthy rebound, as in double-digit price increases? The ‘buyer has to agree to feed the squirrels’ era is back in Coastal California housing markets. Maybe this time is different, but the last time buyers found themselves needing to woo sellers with gushing letters of interest was shortly before the greatest real estate crash in the history of the U.S. And believe it or not, this was just a few short years ago (circa 2006)!”

A reply, “The Dramas continue to grow more and more absurd. Perhaps it can be taken as a warning that we are overdue for a Reality Check.”

Another added, “We’ll be fine as long as we believe our lies.”

And another, “What we really need is confidence.”

And finally, “Just remember. It’s not a lie if you believe it.”

The Wall Street Journal. “Can I Buy Your House, Pretty Please? With inventory tight and prices rising, buyers in competitive markets like Silicon Valley and Seattle are returning to a boom-era tactic: writing heartfelt letters to sellers explaining why they should win the house. Signing with a paw print.”

“How to craft a perfect pitch letter:

* Describe specific features you like about the house and its neighborhood
* Include cute photos of your kids and pets along with their names
* Summarize financial details of the offer, such as your down payment, contingencies, expected timetable and lender’s name
* Cite professional or personal experiences that you have in common with seller
* Keep the letter concise
* Mention the length of your house hunt and the hard work that went into saving up a down payment
* Ask your real-estate agent to review your final draft

* Use an identical template for every offer
* Over-compliment sellers, because they’ll worry they priced their homes too low.”

The Aucklander. “Pressure looks likely to stay on house prices in the year ahead, particularly in Auckland, experts say. Peter Thompson, managing director of Auckland’s biggest agency, Barfoot & Thompson, expects a bit of a holiday lull then a quick pickup. ‘While we may see some easing of average prices during the Christmas/New Year period, during the prime summer trading months of February and March average prices are likely to return to the low $600,000s.’”

“Hayden Duncan, chief executive of New Zealand’s biggest agency network, Harcourts, says lack of new supply and pent-up pressure will keep prices high. ‘The outlook for the country is one of an environment with continued low interest rates and housing stocks remaining tight,’ he said. ‘With limited building planned, particularly in Auckland, it will have the impact of fuelling on-going price increases. If you are pondering on what the best time to buy is, it’s now.’”

The Vancouver Observer. “For quite some time, many in the media have been predicting doom and gloom for Vancouver’s real estate market. The predictions are for a flood of new listings and falling demand; the reality, though, is it’s just not that bad. Sellers in Vancouver are sitting on a significant amount of equity (value in the home after subtracting the mortgage balance). Many property owners who have been trying to sell have decided to take their properties off the market to wait for better market conditions. They are doing this because they can.”

“What all this means for buyers and sellers is that the Vancouver real estate market is softening gradually. Buyers are able to negotiate a far better deal than they could have 6-18 months ago. Sellers are able to get their property sold, though it may take longer and they may have to concede a bit more in negotiations than in previous markets. Sorry doom and gloomers, the market is just not crashing.”

From CTV News. “Vancouver condos have lowered housing price averages in the city, according to a new Royal LePage real estate survey. But those waiting for Vancouver’s real estate bubble to burst shouldn’t hold their breath. ‘Buyers are waiting for that big decrease to happen but I think if they’re going to keep waiting for that, chances are they aren’t going to see it,’ said Todd Talbot, realtor and host of W Network’s Love It or List It Vancouver.”

“That’s because industry experts say some sellers aren’t interested in making significant price reductions, and are taking their homes off the market. ‘They don’t have to sell,’ said Brendon Ogmundson, an economist with the BC Real Estate Association. ‘You don’t find a lot of extra listings unless people need to sell quickly because of some financial catastrophe, and that simply isn’t in the cards, so what we’re going to see is normal demand and supply dynamics.’”

Bits Bucket for January 13, 2013

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