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Columns : Let's Talk Real Estate - James Sarles Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Real estate predictions in 2012
By James Sarles
Jan 6, 2012 - 7:10:26 AM

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One of the interesting parts of ringing in the New Year is the speculation on what the New Year will bring to the Grand Bahama Real Estate Market, the US Real Estate Market and the world Real Estate Market. Collecting New Year predictions isn't as silly as it sounds; it gives knowledgeable players a chance to share what they know.  For my readers who are wondering what to do in 2012 here are a few interesting trusted voices in the US market which directly correlates to our market. Because as the saying goes, when the US sneezes we catch a cold in Grand Bahama.

Karl Case, an economist and professor emeritus at Wellesley College, is one of the nation's smartest observers of the real-estate market in the US. The S&P/Case-Shiller Index, invented by Karl Case and Robert Shiller, "is pretty much the Dow Jones industrial average of real estate," says The New York Times.   I read an article by Karl who predicts that the real estate market  in the US is showing signs of recovery. That’s good sign for our market.

Bloomberg, a major global provider of 24-hour financial news and information  says that even the worst-hit markets in the US will begin to see improvement by 2012 writes Bloomberg real-estate reporters Prashant Gopal and Diana Holden.

The Kiplinger Letter, a weekly business and economic forecasting periodical predicts "The bleeding is just about over. But don't expect a speedy recovery."

So the “ US experts” predict that we may have hit bottom which means this may be the time to buy in our market. I feel that with so many homes on the market in our sluggish market, now might be one of the best times in recent memory to buy a home. While buyers have the advantage in today’s real estate market, they still need to be savvy in order to get the best deal.  Throughout history there have always been business cycles of recession and recovery which correlate to great real estate markets and soft markets. In other words, the direction of economic activity eventually changes so now that the market is down  you have to be prepared for the market to recover.  Many times in these past cycles, the world  economy started to recover well before anyone really realized that the recession was ending.  If you keep a watchful eye on the news even when the statistics show high unemployment and it looks like a vicious downward cycle that will never end, the economy could actually be on its way to recovery.

In Grand Bahama we are directly influenced by the US and world economy and as things get better in the world investors will return to the island and we will get back on track. I truly believe that Grand Bahama has an opportunity to meet its potential even though we sometimes feel that it will never get ahead.  If the Government, The Port Authority and all of the members of the community do their part in being productive and make good decisions things will turn around.  It only takes a small shift to get the magic back in the magic city.

So here are some things I urge home buyers to keep in mind while the market is soft and it is a buyer’s market with a lot of property on the market and good deals all around:

Don’t Try to Time the Market: When home prices are low, it is very tempting for buyers to wait as long as possible in the hopes that prices will decline even further.   This strategy can be detrimental.   Once a home is priced to what the current market will bear, buyers will make offers.   It is best to to make an offer based upon the prices at which similar homes in the market are selling for.   In a buyer’s market, there are more opportunities for negotiations, but making an offer is the right step. If you find a great deal on a house that has great future potential if you wait too long you might miss the opportunity and the market may climb and the owner may raise the price. So now is the time.

Take Your Time…To a Degree: The increased supply of homes on the market gives homebuyers a great opportunity to evaluate a variety of properties. However, this does not mean that homebuyers can procrastinate. Don’t be   a” Wouldof couldof shouldof”   Be a proud owner of a great house at a great price. If you find a great deal go for it.

Homes Are Selling: Properly priced homes are selling. The # of transactions in Freeport have decreased but there is property selling for realistic market prices and buyers are getting great deals that they will be proud of in years to come.

Watch the Mortgage Rates:   Rates are very reasonable now. While it is true that mortgage rates have risen over the past few years they seem to be going down again so be sure to watch the rates and do the math carefully, because changes in mortgage rates are not necessarily cost prohibitive.

Negotiate on the Incentives: Sellers eager to move their homes may offer a variety of incentives such as cars, boats furniture,  and other deal sweeteners. Before accepting an incentive, make sure it makes sense.

This is one of those moments in history where a savvy investor has   the opportunity to do   very well in real estate.   I wish you all great success in your real estate hunting. There are many skilled BREA (Bahamas Real Estate Association) agents in Grand Bahama who can help you make your dreams a reality. So call them and get your piece of the rock!

I wish everyone Real Estate Success in 2012.

Contact the author, James Sarles at Coldwell Banker - James Sarles Realty  james@sarlesrealty.com

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