The Realty Market: Crash or Correction?

I’ve been in contact with numerous Realtors from various brokerages from around the northern Nevada region, and there’s a common thread that has emerged in the past couple of weeks among them – the media is overreacting to the recent market corrections.

From networking meetings to casual conversations, Realtors from all market sectors are voicing their opinion that the current “gloom and doom” reporting that the regional real estate market would continue a downward spiral through 2008 just isn’t on target. But other reports are emerging that paint a more balanced picture. This isn’t “rah-rah” by Realtors, as economists support their observations.

Donald Kohn, Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve, recently told a group of analysts in New York that we’re experiencing a “rebalancing” of prices to fit real demand – a normal part of the cycle: “The reported declines in new home prices in a number of areas should help facilitate the rebalancing of supply and demand” — ie, lower prices should help gradually expand the number of serious buyers looking for houses.

Makes sense to me. If a market is over-inflated, prices need to be reduced to meet what the market will bear. This certainly isn’t a foreboding of a long-term downward spiral of the real estate market, but simply a correction.

So why all the dooms-day reporting by the media that the downward pricing spiral will last through the end of 2008?

Maybe it sells more papers? Or have they not done the research to see if their opinions are backed by expert analysis? Or are they simply reporting what they think based on their personal opinions? I hope there’s a good deal more investigative reporting and analysis of such an important market trend before projecting an outcome and timeframe. Unfortunately, the vast majority of readers are willing to believe a media report without questioning its substantive research. And if “perception is reality”, the downward market trend may be extended simply because of belief – and not reality.

But that’s not what I’m hearing from Realtors. They say the market has picked-up substantially in the past three weeks, and homes are moving at an increasingly faster pace. Yes, sellers have had to reduce their asking prices – and have to wait longer for offers. In contrast, buyers are making the decision to purchase now, while they belive the market is in their favor. Whatever their motivations, the real estate market is certainly not slow for all realtors. The good ones are doing well…while newer entrants into the profession are finding it a slower go to become established. In my opinion, this does not fortell of a bad year in 2008 – simply one that is a transition of correction….and the correction has taken place.

Whatever the case… the time to get a solid brand position and marketing campaign for Realtors is now…while the market has cooled somewhat, and the timing is perfect to plan, build, and execute. The buyers and sellers will be back in droves in short order…will realtors be ready to speak to them, and differentiate themselves from their competition? The smart ones will.

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