Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Re/Max provides valuable research for home owners

Admittedly I haven't been very kind to realty firms lately, based on the Listing of the Day marketing reviews and the rash of negative market publicity often fueled by realty associations.

But I must give a ton of credit to Re/Max of Northern Illinois for revealing some very interesting research within the past few days.

They quietly produced research about home sales and home prices in Chicago area suburbs in proximity to the region's commuter train line. And the results allow for a positive spin.

Again this year, their study measured home sales and home prices in selected suburbs and communities served by Metra trains. This year, the results showed that 19.2% fewer homes changed hands within the "Metra towns", along with price declines at levels 2% less than declines shown for all suburbs. The study included both attached and detached homes.

I agree with the speculation that this is due to the high cost of gas everywhere and for parking in Chicago. Even monthly parking "specials" are running upwards of $250 - $300 or more per month. Even parking meters have risen to $3.00 or more per hour. Factor in big city traffic, and a lot of the workforce sees the advantage of having proximity to a train that saves them time sitting in traffic, gas costs, and exhorbitant parking fees.

What this means for home owners in these areas (and near commuter train lines) is that they have gained a significant selling point to attract potential buyers if and when they are ready. And a reason to ask for a better price compared with an area which might be just a few miles further away.

Sellers in a "Metra town" can certainly gain from this. A potential buyer has a good reason to consider the location if they could ride the train to and from work or school every business day.

This is the type of story that realty agents should be all over. If I were a licensed agent but not with a Re/Max office, I would still alert my client "owners" in these areas to this study, and let them know that I can help them just the same as the company that released this information. And I would get a mailer or some sort of alert out to homes and condos within my farm area pronto. If I were a licensed agent with a Re/Max office, I would probably out knocking on doors personally to hand deliver this study within a couple miles of every Metra station I could get to.

And if I were a licensed realty agent in an area other than Chicago, I'd have dropped whatever I was doing to research commuter train usage within my farm area. Today.

This information certainly beats the usual "sales are down compared with last year, whoa is me" stories the realty associations churn out.

Let's see if the agents and home owners can take this news to the bank. By train, of course.

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