Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Report from the Field

I've just come back from a meeting of my counterparts at other large independent Realtor firms.  This time, we met in beautiful Hanover, New Hampshire, although we hailed from all parts of the country.  Almost all the firms are seeing fairly large increases in both units sold and average prices, with supply limited to very limited, depending upon region.  The Northeast is clearly lagging behind the rest of the country.  Although we are definitely seeing signs of improvement, we have not gained back the number of jobs that other places have, and that affects real estate sales.  Boston, as it often is, proves the exception to the rule, as it seems to be enjoying robust growth.

Almost everyone present said that the past thirty to sixty days had been slower than the rest of the year, but reported an uptick in sales before that, as interest rates began to rise.  Isn't it amazing that, no matter how often we preach that rates are at unusually low levels, and that buyers should hurry to capture great rates, most people wait until rates have already started to climb before rushing to buy?  Most agreed, however, that mortgages were more difficult to get than they had been, with regulations changing so often that it can be hard to keep track of the rules.  Most locations saw slower growth in the luxury end.  San Francisco, like Boston, marches to the beat of its own drummer, and is wildly popular.  NYC also is seeing increased action at almost every level of the market.

It was striking to see how much like Connecticut Northern New England is, with small offices in every town, and agents spread out over a much greater footprint, versus the big, centrally located mega-offices found in other parts of the country.  As with our Yankee counterparts in New Hampshire, we see older agents, less technology, and more traditional sales tools than our friends in the West are finding.  I guess that's why we are still called The Land of Steady Habits!