Sunday, March 25, 2012

We Have Passed The Bottom

Did you time it as well as you timed the stock market?  Didn't think so.

The driving force over the past 4 years has been fear.  The markets were tottering, people were running for cover, the government, being the only adult (?) in the room tried to help us get through, at least help big business get through, and we all lived in fear.  Fear of layoffs, fear of dwindling markets that cut into our compensation packages, fear of the unknown.

As markets began to shrink, the speed of the shrinkage was increased by fear.  As they began to get better, fear again popped up with talks of a double dip.

Things did start to get better, and here in Charlotte, a bit sooner and stronger perhaps than other areas.  Still, fear of buying or selling too soon kept many from doing the right thing for them at that time.  So everyone began to wait for the bottom.

It has passed us by.

The road to recovery is not a steep angle, but it is moving positive.  As a realtor I see it almost every day, more buyers shopping, banks lending, companies hiring.  We have hit bottom and are on our way up.

In the housing market, we find that there are fewer properties in the downtown market available for sale than at any time in the past 10 years.  If you read this blog you know my favorite law is that of Supply and Demand.  According to that law, if your supply is inadequate to meet the demand for it, two things can happen, prices rise and / or supply increases, sometimes both.

For the first time in quite a while, there is talk of interest rate increases.  The accompanying chart illustrates a quarter point rise in rates and what it will do to monthly payments and overall interest payments. 

Rates are rising, prices are beginning to rise, we have been to the bottom and survived.  Now it is a matter of taking advantage of rates and prices before they rise to a stabilizing level.  There are good deals available in this market but they are not as many as there was just 6 months ago.  New property will be added to the market as we progress, but those properties will begin to reflect a stronger market and prices will rise.

In 2000 the average $ per sq ft in downtown Charlotte was $151; In2011 the average $ per sq ft was $214.  At the peak of the market in 2006 the average $ per sq ft was $309.  Several things drove the prices that high.  Courtside, Fifth & Poplar, The Avenue, 230 South Tryon and TradeMark all came on the market in the mid 2000's at the height of the market. 

A pre construction boom price of $272 per sq ft was achieved in 2005, and I believe that will be the stabilizing price.  It may take several years to get to that level but that will be an achievable and sustainable level to reach.

If you are a buyer, consider those variables and make your decision as to when the right time is for you.

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