January Market Update

January market activity continued the eight-month trend of improving over the prior year (January of 09'). The year started out pretty slow last year so we expected (prayed for) an increase, which we got (+25% / 8% volume). It is early, but two trends are appearing: 1) On the positive side, buyer interest (tracked by showing appointments, open house visitors and web activity) remains as strong as in the fall when we had our tax credit induced feeding frenzy and 2) On the concern side, the tax credit impact in the last 60 days has fallen off. We had suspected the majority of first time buyers that were going to act did last year and current activity supports that, but it may be they are just holding off a bit for the spring. The continued strength of buyer interest reinforces our feeling that there is a growing pent up demand that will sustain a steady but slow growth in our market (slow because many of those "lookers" are still being held back by financial issues that, as soon as they see some positive news, will bring them back into the market).

As we have said for the past few months, the first half of 2010 is a strange time where is it will be the best time for both Sellers to sell and Buyers to buy. For Sellers, with inventories and interest rates low, it will be as close (but not quite) to a Seller's market they will see this year. For Buyers, low rates and tax incentives, combined with the expectation of higher rates after midyear, make it an optimum time to buy as well.

We received some good news on our web site activity. The December Hitwise stats are in (the web version of Nielsen ratings) and RealEstateOne.com is again the #1 broker website in the state. I have attached a simple chart showing our share of the web activity among our major competition. The gap is pretty wide, which is exciting to see.

Also, we are getting ready to roll out the next stage in our "First to Know - Any time, Any place, Any device" information platform. We have in place the web sites, i-phone and smart phone applications, smart phone mobile web site (www.mihome.mobi) and next month we will add voice and text messaging information on any MLS property (available on most of our MLS's). Look for more details in March.

Dan

 

Dan Elsea

President - Brokerage Services

Real Estate One Family of Companies

danelsea@realestateone.com

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