Letter to the bank…
In view of what seems to be happening internationally with banks at the moment, I was wondering if you could advise me. If one of my checks is returned marked, “insufficient funds,”…How do I know whether that refers to me or to you???
Okay, I can’t take credit for that joke, but I am glad to see that there is still a sense of humor out there.
Way to wrap up 2008! Looking back, I remember sitting in this same place last year thinking that I could not wait to get rid of 2007…because how much worse could it get, really??? There’s the joke right there!
This is the time of year that many reflect on the previous year and begin to look ahead at what is going to come in the next year. Topping many lists that I have read over the last week is real estate.
Today, MSN released their Real Estate Losers of 2008…a retrospective of the bumps and grinds in the housing industry over the past year. Though we all have heard the numbers over the previous twelve months, those statistics still haunt the industry and many believe it will take more than the next year to shake those shadows.
As reported by MSN, here are some of the housing statistics to date:
- November foreclosures were up 28 percent over the same month last year, while Credit Suisse is predicting over 6.5 million more loans will enter foreclosure by the year 2012.
- In October, new home sales hit their lowest point in over 18 years, dropping nearly 40 percent from where they were last year.
- The national median price for existing homes dropped over 11 percent in October from the same month a year ago.
- Both real estate and mortgage banks have seen a dramatic increase in the number of agents that are deciding to leave the business to pursue other interests.
Though the numbers indicate some pretty bad times, there were some winners in 2008. Once again, as reported by MSN, here are some of the highlights:
- First time buyers are taking another look at the market today. With fixed mortgage rates falling under 6%, and the number of foreclosures and short sales on the increase, many people that waited out the soaring home price market a few years back are now finding homes well within their means.
- Agent and asset managers of bank owned properties that deal specifically with foreclosed or real-estate owned sales are having their best year ever.
- Attorneys that specialize in evictions, foreclosure, or bankruptcies, are also having a banner year working for lenders or employed by the borrowers to help avoid further legal action.
Despite the housing crisis and economic slowdown in 2008, and according to the National Association of Realtors, the housing sector still contributed significantly to the national economy this past year. Though the numbers are still being tabulated, many analysts, contrary to steeper declines reported this past year, suggest numbers only slightly off from the previous year, where the housing sector contributed over $2 trillion to the national economy in 2007.
We are all hopeful better things will come in 2009. But I think it is important to remain realistic as well. When this market will turn around is anyone’s guess, but we all know it will turn around eventually. But one thing is for sure, that the road to recovery will not be found overnight.