Orange hair and First Quarter results

We all get a kick out of other people on occasion; their words, their appearance, their car driving blunders, etc. But rarely do we get to focus on their character and true being, as that is not often available for us to see. We can chuckle and we can criticize knowing that we do not really know what makes that person tick or what their motivation is for doing what they are doing.

So we watch and listen, sometimes in shock and at times in awe of their talent or lack thereof. You Tube has some funny clips in the style of Funny Home Videos if you are bored. But how can you be bored when our serious news outlets show the childish behavior of literally all of our POTUS candidates (except for your favorite who is TOTALLY above the fray), quoting the sounds and words of their desperate efforts to win over voters while the truth be damned!

You would think becoming Prez of the great US of A is a windfall of money and fame, a lifetime salary and health insurance second to none and a free ticket to every symphony concert and rock festival forever. Which it kind of is. Lets not even factor in the “speaking” fees paid to former Presidents. That money will take you anywhere you want to travel with plenty left over for sushi or Chateaubriand.

First Quarter residential sales and inventory numbers are posted in the Absorption Rates charts accessible in the margin of this blog site. This information is being published 48 hours earlier than usual, to get the information off my desk and to get it into your next listing presentation. Sales are barely keeping pace with the same period last year. Home sales have felt a bit softer of late and these results prove it. Another source some try to measure is pending contracts, which our local Association says are much lower than this same period last year. Second Quarter better or worse?

It is not the increase in inventory that is making our progress look flat; it is the lack of sales. Lack of new and quality inventory will continue that trend of slower sales as people will not want to spend their hard-earned money on average or below quality homes in less than average locations. Many industry folks are calling for more spec homes to give buyers something to choose from. That product line is growing, but not very fast. Years of buyers skimming the available homes for amazing bargains have depleted the number that can be bought for well below appraisal or well below replacement cost. About the time our typical, average, median home sells for replacement cost, we will see new homes built in larger numbers and inventory will improve for buyers. Meanwhile we work with what we have.

When I meet with a seller prospect, they are often disappointed that they still cannot get more for their home than they paid in years past. Will that change anytime soon?

Rates are still quite attractive. Maybe all the real buyers have already bought something and we are awaiting another busload of customers to show up from other states where money is flowing and jobs are growing? Ten years ago we created buyers out of nothing. They did not know they could afford to buy a home until it was shown to them that anyone could get a mortgage. And they really could NOT afford to buy a home even though many did, with the help of some fast talking professionals, many of whom are now long gone.

How many people can buy a second home? Not everyone, certainly. An economist I follow (Dr. Ted Jones) shows that second home purchases have fallen off. Santa Fe depends on those transactions to grow its real estate numbers. If we did not have second home buyers, we would not have much of a real estate market above $500K. What if we had a real estate market that refused to grow? Where would you be?

After years of steady and boring and slow growth while we solidify our recovery here, sooner or later we had to plateau and maybe that time has come. Maybe 2016 will be a flat year? Sales do pick up in summer and fall, but can we match the growth year over year? Tune in next month for another chapter in the continuing saga of the Santa Fe residential real estate recovery mini-series. Starring that person over there as the seller and old whats his name as the buyer, with a cast of thousands hanging on every signature on every contract.

Early April is not the time to bemoan the type of year we will have because we simply do not know what is to come. It would be a good idea to take a deep breath and get to work to do your own part so the year turns out the way you want it to. Each of us has to put our shoulder to the wheel, as some have eloquently said.

The other day I went to Facebook for an update of what is happening in the world. I landed some great and easy recipes and some funny videos of cats, plus some inspirational words and some trash talk about politics and how the other guy is an idiot. Business as usual it seems. Then to Twitter for a quick flash of news: Merle Haggard, Patty Duke, a bombing in a Syrian neighborhood, the Fukushima half-life of hell, the guy that broke up the Beatles, Hulk Hogan in tears, etc. What a wonderful world we live in. Sometimes it feels great to be away from the leading edge of societal changes here in our little towns and villages of Northern New Mexico. Don’t forget to VOTE in the NM primary and again this November in the big one!! We will know what kind of year it is in residential real estate by then.

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