January 2010

This is getting interesting. Are you reading the same articles I am reading? Some say we are through the worst of it, predicting a slow but steady recovery, an improving outlook with newly created jobs, and a steady growing real estate market. Others think a double-dip recession is almost certain; we had a ‘bottom’ recently, then things got better, but they are going down again as various factors put a damper on the recovery. I have no idea what to predict, so I won’t even try. But maybe I can be of assistance in your understanding help readers focus on the local scene. That’s the stated purpose here; gather the facts and see which way the wind is blowing. It’s trying to read a weathervane. Remember those? And you know the wind changes directions sometimes.

Recent year-end reviews of our country, our economy, our state, our lives and our culture all seem to conclude that 2009 should be forgotten and we should hope to never have to repeat such a difficult year. But we can’t forget if we hope to learn anything from the recent past. 2010 can be a better year if we make it so. That’s on my agenda, personally. What is on yours? Maybe finding a new professional sports athlete role model? Making yourself save even more money than you have already? Possibly seeing the silver lining in the bitter and partisan politics we see in Washington? Did you make New Year resolutions? Are you in control of making them come true or are you dependant on others for success? If someone else helps you succeed, do they get some of the credit? Do you get to blame them if you fail? Easy answer: don’t fail.

The attached spreadsheet is about a statistic called Absorption Rate. It is calculated by compiling all MLS reported sales (in a specific category or area) for one years’ time, then dividing by 12 for a monthly average. That average is then divided into inventory of property for sale (using the same criteria of price or area) and the result is expressed as number of months to sell all current inventory using most recent 12 months sold results to estimate future sales. Now that approach is inherently weak since past performance is no indication of future trends.  But without any way to predict accurately, using the last 12 months seems to be a reliable way to guess what will happen in the future. If the number of sales per month picks up, then the number of months to “absorb all inventory” will go down, etc. etc. Logical conclusions come from the calculation. We are now out of balance and find ourselves in a “buyer’s market”, since the absorption time is so long. When it was much shorter, say 2005, it was a “seller’s market”. Since I know and respect BOTH sellers AND buyers, I simply hope for a balanced market that would allow the quality of a property to matter, instead of a primary focus on price. If you buy something you expect to enjoy and use for many years, is the lowest price always the best choice?

You have heard the news (and opinions); it’s all good, it’s getting better, it’s not getting better just yet, it will never be the same again, too many are unemployed, too many owe more than their homes are worth, too many do not like what they are doing, lenders are not making loans, lenders are making loans but only to highly qualified candidates, Federal help programs are inadequate, Federal help is unnecessary, government is too big, government is not doing enough to help those in need, the bailout of the big banks was a crime, without bailout action things will only get worse, etc. etc. We can get together over coffee and figure all that out someday when we have some time. Someday it might make sense. I urge you to read and research and give thought to recent events so you are prepared for future events. Me? I just have some numbers for your review. If you have a need or desire for additional information about Santa Fe area real estate, please contact me or contact a real estate professional in Santa Fe. Ask around and find a good one that will give you accurate information and the time you need to make your next move. If you wish to be removed from my distribution list, please write to the same email and let me know. You are welcome to forward and share the information enclosed or use it yourself in a legal and moral manner. Permission granted.

2010 is the year we have been waiting for; the year we have long been looking forward to. This is the year we are going to make positive changes in our own lives and behavior. This is the time we planned to help others get along and get in shape and back up our files and repaint our bathrooms and lose weight and learn about something new and stop smoking and get in touch with those we have not talked with in years. Today is the day to make the improvements you want to make. Here is the place you chose for those things to take place. 2010 is full of promise and there is no reason it can’t be our/your best year ever. While you or I or anyone climbs to the top, please remember to help someone else along; give them some hope or kind words or direction or lend a hand. Helping others helps us too.


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