Undoubtedly, it's the number one question that I hear every day. Week in and week out. Clients ask it. Potential clients ask it. Friends, family, even strangers ask me. A dozen Kiwanis Club members asked me last week when I spoke about real estate to their group.
Yes, that question is: Where's the real estate market going? What will the future bring? Are we at the bottom? Are prices going down? What about foreclosures? How's the general economy effect the real estate market? Are you keeping busy? Times must be slow?
Okay, that's actually 8 questions, but in reality they're all encompassed in that first general purpose query.
This past week, I attended the 12th Annual Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS Economic Summit held at George Mason University. Since I've been in real estate, I've attended this summit every year and in the past have been active in helping to plan and organize the meetings. It's a don't miss event for real estate professionals seeking to understand where we've been, where we are, and where we're heading in the economy and the regional real estate market.
Four economists spoke this year at the Summit: Dr. David Seiders (Chief Economist of the National Association of Home Builders), Dr. Jed Smith (Managing Director of Quantitative Research for the National Association of REALTORS), Dr. Doug Duncan (Chief Economist of Fannie Mae), and Dr. Stephen Fuller (Director, Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University).
Each of them presented their views of the current U.S. economy and the economy of the Washington D.C. area. While all of them agreed on where we have been, there was some disagreement of where we are and where we're going. All predict a recovery for the economy and the local housing market -- but disagree on when, how quickly, and how robust.
Here's a few quotes from my notes on the Summit:
"Stability in existing home sales has been achieved" -- Dr. David Seiders
"Supply and demand is mostly in balance and we're getting to the end of the tunnel" -- Dr. Jed Smith
"The economy is in position to quickly turn around and grow" -- Dr. Stephen Fuller
All in all, despite some fog within the crystal ball of each prognosticator, the mood was one of overall optimism.