by Ron Phipps, 2012 Immediate Past President, NAR
Headlines abound: The Housing Bust is over… In June, a survey of economists concluded that housing has hit bottom. Realtors®, homeowners and renters, Americans, and citizens of the world all are sighing with collective relief. The economy and housing values both have cycles. It has been more than eighty years since the difference between the top and the bottom was so great.
As Realtors®, we are relieved that we are at the bottom, but we are realistic with the changes in the market and our work. In the not too distant past, the overwhelming majority of our work was prior to sales agreement, now it can be after. In that same time, most transactions closed. The “fallout rate” was nonexistent. Most sobering is what is now required to get to closing and how many things can derail a transaction for a “willing, ready, and able” buyer.
So we are cautiously engaging the new reality, but first we need to pause. If we do not learn from history, we are bound to repeat it. We do not want to repeat the last ten years. So what are the lessons we should learn? Here are 10 lessons that come to mind:
- The economy cannot recover without housing.
- Everyone needs shelter, but not everyone needs to own their shelter.
- High homeownership rates are important but they must be sustainable.
- Home prices go up and go DOWN.
- The process of purchasing /financing a home is more complicated.
- Sound underwriting of mortgages is critical.
- Home equity should not be used for ordinary living expenses.
- Financial reserves for family, companies, and countries are necessary.
- Homeowners confidence in the economy is directly related the value of their own homes.
- The economy is global.
What lessons did the last decade teach you? We would love to know what you learned from the last cycle.
What is important is that we remember what happened as we prepare to write the future. Most importantly, we should also have a sense of accomplishment that we endured these life lessons.
There are seasons in the weather: spring, summer, fall and winter. So there are in economic cycles. It is great to be at the thaw of winter and the budding of spring.