The Highs and Lows of Real Estate in 2009

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.”

Charles Dickens.

This is easily my favorite quote of all time and it accurately describes how many of us felt during the course of 2009. Some of you may even be thinking, “were there any high points in real estate this year?”

Yes there were, and while I only have limited space I’ll try to recap the top five in each category.

The Lowlights:

  • Clearly, we started the year worse off than anyone imagined. People not only contracted their buying, but they also went into hibernation mode and some agents wondered if they would ever sell a home again.
  • Some price points like the Luxury market saw drops in value in excess of 30 percent in less than a year.
  • Lending has hit a new low. Never has it been so hard to borrow money for the average person. The regulations, guidelines, and qualifications are getting harder every day. At this juncture, I am not convinced that banks are remotely interested in helping Americans get back on their feet.
  • The mortgage industry is now being controlled by a few large banking institutions that have too much power and too much control. This is bad for consumers, bad for competition, and bad for capitalism.
  • The appraisal system has run amuck. It’s in complete disarray and if you wait a week, it will change again. We need stability here soon.

The Highlights:

  • More people were able to buy their first home. The first-time home buyer tax credit worked and stimulated the industry.
  • The fourth quarter looks to have a much stronger close in real estate sales than originally predicted. Improvements in the economy, buyer confidence, low home prices, low interest rates and incentives have brought buyers off the sideline.
  • Today we have a much more qualified buyer than in many years past. People who own homes now or recently bought homes are the ones that can truly afford them.
  • We made great headway in beginning to weed out fraud, deception, cheating, and people looking to take advantage of others.
  • We came out of an election year, banks failing, and unprecedented amount of foreclosures and still the real estate market continued to operate. We got deals done and actually improved the forecast for everyone.

Later this week is the start of 2010. Happy New Year Everyone and let’s pray that we have more to write about in the highlights column.

Dan Polimino is a Realtor with Fuller Sotheby’s International Realty. He can be reached at DPolimino@fullerproperties.com and www.coloradodreamhouse.com/denverpost