I hope that this message finds you recovered from the holiday rush (and your New Year celebrations!), and starting to survey the landscape of 2008.
There’s been a lot of media attention in the last six weeks to the state of the housing market and the economy in general. The messages have been mixed, at best, and confusing. So-called “experts” duel with each other over whether the housing market has reached a bottom, and whether we’re headed for a recession — or are already in one.
The Baltimore region, lets face it, has fared pretty well in comparison to many parts of the country. Maryland’s economy is strong, unemployment is below the national average, and jobs here are growing. Don’t let the national media scare you away from the market. We are still undervalued compared to other east coast cities, and especially to our nearest neighbors down in DC.
Ready for a prediction??
Well, from ‘down in the trenches’ its my opinion that we will see some stabilization in the local housing situation come spring. I think that we’re scraping along the bottom right now, mainly because January and February tend to be the slowest months in the calendar. There was a slight acceleration in the market before we went into the holiday period, and with interest rates still low and a good amount of inventory, the market will improve when the weather does. Selling a property will still take a little longer than in the past, and it will be even more important that the property shows itself well from the very start. Buyers will probably have to jump through a few more hoops with their lender of choice, simply because credit will be tighter — but it will still be available to qualified buyers. If you need advice about a particular property to sell, or on what lenders you should be considering and working with, please feel free to call or email.
New for ’08, and Coming Soon!!
Many of you have used my website — www.charmcityrealestate.com — as a resource for information and for keeping up with the housing inventory, either through a direct MLS search or an automatically emailed update of listings that match your interests. The site was designed six years ago, and has been updated regularly with new functionality — if you haven’t visited it recently, go to the main information page for Buying a Property and you’ll see a new calculator that helps a homebuyer factor in commuting costs when comparing two properties. If you’ve ever been in the situation where you were weighing a cheaper house with a longer commute versus a more expensive house with a shorter drive to work, you’ll think this new bit of technology is pretty useful.
With the increasing use of larger, flatpanel monitors and the passage of time, it just seemed like this slow period was the perfect time to raise the hood and begin an overhaul of the nuts and bolts. So, I’ll be keeping you updated on the timetable for the debut of a new CharmCityRealEstate web portal. We’re putting it on a different software platform and changing the way much of the site functions. The display will be wider to better fill most people’s monitors, and we’ll be adding video capabilities and moving my blog from its current third party site right into CCRE itself.
I hope to have the chance to speak with each of you personally very soon… and until then… all the best.