Quarterly Gardner Report on Current Market – Have We Hit Bottom?
Every quarter, Matthew Gardner from Gardner Land Use Economics delivers a detailed analysis on the current market exclusively for Windermere. Fresh off the press is The Gardner Report for the first quarter of 2009 and it appears to be on track with his predictions from the last time we posted his synopsis.
In his conclusion, Gardner is predicting that the market has hit bottom and suggests that transaction activity will continue. Numbers are showing that sales are actually up 18.7 percent compared to March of 2008, but unfortunately many of those sales are from a result in increased foreclosures, he reports. At the same time, Gardner points out that prices are not moving upward, but rather beginning to plateau even though he expects some declines–just not as excessive. Overall his data didn’t present anything extremely promising, but it does show a solid slowing in the rapid decline.
Pending sales, a good indicator of market stability when taken in context with available inventory, saw a decline of just 4 percent over the same period in 2008. If we counter this with a 14 percent decline in total active inventory, the result leads us to believe that the signs of a bottoming market might be upon us.
So, while the reports’ pieces and parts weren’t all that great of news, the overall regional real estate message was moderately good. The same goes for his regional economics study on employment. People losing their jobs are likely to be the worst result of the recession and the slowdown in layoffs is also being used by Gardner as an indicator that the market has bottomed out. A whopping 100,000 estimated private sector jobs were lost in the last year, which will of course extend the delay of any potential skyrocketing prices as the market begins to stabilize. From the sudden upward spike in consumer confidence, we also believe the worst is over, but time will tell.
The government has kept rates low, prices are “soft,” and there certainly is some increased foot traffic among hesitant buyers. As buyers continue to see that prices are stabilizing at a level which seems to be considered affordable, it seems as though buyers should be leaping over the fence, but that may not happen until interest rates start to tighten. Gardners’ prediction is that tightening on rates will happen during the second half of 2010.
It’s a smart time to buy! Let’s talk!