Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Build On Better Builder Confidence

It's nice to see something positive come from another set of real estate statistics, as the National Association of Home Builders has just issued a report showing reasons to be encouraged based on June 2012 statistics:


The past month's increase brings the Housing Market Index (HMI) to its highest point since March of 2007, which happens to be around the time the real estate crash started hitting hard.

Yet, there should be more to this story. Although it could be a positive indication, those within the real estate community need to be alerted to continue or begin to take action to help the upswing.

Since this report is from the Builders Association, these indications are based on "newly built" homes around the country. However, many areas of the country that continue to have a huge number of homes on the market, have not had recent construction and therefore are not reflected.

I'm not pointing this out to shoot down these NAHB findings. I am pointing out that these findings, while positive, have their limitations in certain regions, and this is what needs to be in the mindset of those in real estate.

Obviously, realty agents are in business to earn money, and it has been a challenge over the past five years. Reports like this one from the NAHB are likely to drive more agents representing buyers to steer them toward the "recently built" properties, since these statistics seem to favor them for purchase.

That's fine for the agents who do and who now will do this, and fine for buyers looking for new or newer construction as a factor in their upcoming purchase. But it's not "fine" for the thousands (or should I say "millions"?) of home owners looking to sell an older property.

For them, this NAHB report is more of a thorn than a help. There is no "older home" bureau or agency to create and distribute statistics to make buying them more favorable, such as the NAHB has just done for newer construction properties.

As pointed out here on numerous occasions, the local (and even the national) realty associations seem too consumed with putting out negative and/or meaningless statistics about local home sales, but fail to make any distinction about the age and condition of those homes.

Sellers of homes more than 15 years old, and the realty agents representing them, need to be asking the question, "Why would a buyer want this home when they could have a much newer one?".

The answer might be price, amenities, proximity, schools, or hopefully a combination of those and other key elements.

Whatever that answer is, THAT is what should be advertised and marketed to help sell that home. Agents should be coming up with their own local statistics, where applicable, about how many "older" homes are selling compared to newer ones within their farm area.

If "older" homes are not going to be publicized and marketed as they should be, it means a much longer recovery time for the overall real estate market. Shorter is better. In this case, if it was built long ago, they should still come. It just takes more reminding.