We celebrated St George's 150th Birthday yesterday. I enjoyed watching the historic movie that the city put together about the pioneers and what they went through to settle St George. It was an added treat to be able to hear and meet American Idols finalist Brooke White sing for us, followed by cake and fireworks. It's times like these we are reminded of the sacrifices that were made and what our ancestors went through so that we can enjoy this beautiful place we call home. Here's to another 50 years!!
St George home sales are on the upswing and projected to be ahead of the national average during this next year. We still haven’t got to where we were before the recession hit but we are definitely looking better compared to the last few of years. This was a great article published by our local news paper. Read the full article below or click on the link.
The Spectrum 12/05/2011, Page A01
Market outperforms national trends
By David DeMille firstname.lastname@example.org
ST. GEORGE — Home sales and prices continue to drop across the U.S., but markets in Southern Utah appear to be bucking the trend.
Nationwide, home prices are falling in most major cities. After small gains in the spring and summer, prices dropped a more-than-expected 3.9 percent as tracked by the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index from August to September, taking prices below the point in 2009 when experts predicted they would start climbing again.
The percentage of Americans owning homes has taken a hit as well, and according to research done at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, it could drop to 62 percent by 2015, which would be its lowest level since the U.S. Census Bureau started tracking such data in 1963.
In Southern Utah, people in the real estate industry said that although the market is far from being as good as it was before the recession, things seem to be trending upward when com¬pared to the last few years.
Even in Washington County, the part of the state hit hardest by the recession when the hous¬ing bubble burst, sales are on the upswing. The county saw a 25 percent jump in home sales in September when compared to the previous September, accord¬ing to the latest figures from the Utah Association of Realtors. For the year, sales are up 11 percent.
“Our market is very positive,” Rand McCullough, a broker with Coldwell Banker Premier Realty in St. George, said Sunday. “It’s more positive than it has been for a few years.”
The inventory of unsold homes is down about 15 percent from a year ago, McCullough said, and even though home prices are still low, at about a $150,000 me¬dian, analysts predict they could be headed up soon.
A recent report from Fiserv and Moody’s Analytics predicts that home prices in the St. George area will increase by nearly 8 percent in the second quarter of 2012, meaning St. George, once one of the harder-hit housing markets in the country, would be outperforming the national average once again.
“We are a unique market in that a good part of our buyers here are second-home buyers,” McCullough said, indicating that the area is still attractive to retirees and investors. “As long as the market is doing well, they’ll buy properties.”
Iron County saw a 22 percent year-over-year dip in September sales, according to the Utah Association of Realtors, but experts said that was a fluke, as total sales for the year are still up 10 percent from last year, and area real estate agents said they anticipate a rebound.
Adriane Kadera, with Coldwell Banker Advantage and president of the Iron County Board of Realtors, said those in the industry, from buyers to banks to appraisers, are still hesitant, creating a “conservative atmosphere” that slows progress. Overall, the environment is improving, she said, and the county’s surplus of unsold homes has dropped from about a 20month supply a year ago to a two- or three-month supply.
“The thing that concerns me the most right now about the market is we are seeing another upswing in the number of defaults,” she said, adding that foreclosed properties are still trickling into the market.
The median home price has dropped from $135,000 last year to $117,000 this year in Iron County.
It’s funny how the media can spin anything to read how they want. Fannie Mae recently took a survey to see if consumers thought now was a good time to buy a home. The survey revealed that 68% of people believe that now is a good time to buy. Yet, the headlines seemed to concentrate exclusively on the negative:
“Survey: Americans Growing More Cautious on Housing – Wall Street Journal 11/24”
“Housing Drop: More Bad News for the Economy – Time 11/24”
Is the fact that 68% of the people think now is the time to buy bad news? Shouldn’t it be great news? We elect the president of this country with barely 50% of the voters agreeing. A senate ‘supermajority’ only demands 60% to bring out a vote of cloture or to end a filibuster. Over two thirds believing now is the time to buy is fabulous news.
There were two other very revealing findings in the report:
1. People trust homeownership as an investment over buying stocks (66% to 16%). They also trust owning a home over investing in a 401k, buying an insurance annuity or investing in a mutual fund. People find investing in a home safer than any other investment except putting their money into a savings account.
2. 96% of homeowners feel that homeownership has been a positive experience.
Other findings in the report that were not well reported:
62% of renters have long-term ownership aspirations.
Americans continue to expect home rental prices to rise more than home prices over the next year. Americans believe that it is more likely that home rental prices will go up rather than go down by a ratio of almost 4 to 1.
An overwhelming majority of mortgage borrowers remain satisfied with their loans and 3 in 4 Americans are confident they would receive the necessary information to choose the right loan.
Non-financial considerations, such as accessing good education and safety, continue to trump financial reasons for owning a home. With the top three reasons (education, safety, more space) all increasing in percentages since the last report that was taken in June of 2010. Also, 59% of mortgage borrowers have seen their home value increase.
We believe that St. George, Utah Real Estate is in an even better position than the national average. St. George is a growing retirement community that will grow even if there is not an increase in available jobs. Many retirees move here that are on a fixed social security and pension income.
Bottom Line: The Fannie Mae survey showed that homeownership is still considered by the vast majority as a good investment (66%) and a positive experience (96%) . And, 68% think it is a good time for people to buy!!
For more information on St. George, Utah Real Estate call me Steve Harrington at (435) 668-3599. For more information on St. Geroge Utah Mortgage visit www.StGeorgeMortgageGuru.com