No doubt about it, it’s been a good summer. It can’t even come close to comparing to last summer when I wondered if we would ever sell a home again. The first signs of good things came from my assistant Linda at Fuller Sotheby’s in March. Linda handles administrative services for several brokers in our office and one day back in March, she looked particularly busy. I asked her how her day was going and she replied that the office is in mid-summer form. I asked her what she meant. She said she’s normally only this busy with homes under contract in mid-summer, but here it was mid-March and she had more transactions than she could handle. I knew then that we were in store for a good summer and now, looking back, we were right.
What changed? Well it’s certainly hasn’t been because there are more jobs, but I can point to a few things that helped:
1) The tax credit finishing up at the end of April brought in a frenzy of business at the 11th hour. It was crazy for a few weeks at the end of the April. Since Uncle Sam was not extending the credit, more people realized the urgency to buy now.
2) While unemployment is not reversing itself for the moment, I do think it has stabilized, marked by a few good months of positive job growth. This instilled some confidence in people to start spending money again. Jobs are the one area that can turn the entire economy around and prevent a double dip recession. Many large corporations are flushed with cash so the question now is, will they hire employees and expand or will they pay it out to shareholders?
3) Pent up demand! It’s a term we have used a lot over the last 18 months, talking about the need and demand by people to buy new homes. I have said all along in this column that as realtors, we could feel the pent up demand to buy homes; we just did not know when it would shake loose. It started this summer.
4) Finally, while new construction is not booming around the country it is doing ok here in Colorado. I know many builders that have started new projects, created new price points, new marketing strategies, and new alliances and as a result are doing pretty well. It’s far off from where we used to be but its start.
The only question that remains is, “Can we keep it going?” I hear the analysts talking every day about the chances of a double dip recession. I don’t have a crystal ball to know one way or another if that will happen. I do know this market is fragile to say the least and we can all hope for the best.
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