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Good News in the St George Real Estate Market

While this article is written for any and all to read, my target audience are Buyers who are contemplating a home purchase, Sellers who still think it is 2005, and the real estate professionals who perpetuate the myth that “The Sky Is Falling” in Southern Utah. This submission is in direct response to all of the negative media reports regarding the “bursting real estate bubble” and as a rebuttal to those who have bought in to the fallacy that what goes on in other real estate markets of the world must surely be going on in Washington County as well.

Anyone who knows anything about the St. George real estate market also knows that it is cyclical in nature. In other words, there are peaks and valleys in the market. 2005 was a “peak” in the cycle, mostly fueled by out-of-state investors who invaded the market like a horde of locusts and bought everything in site (many times sight unseen) thereby depleting the existing inventory. The Law of Supply and Demand took over, which is exactly what the “investors” were banking on, and within a few short months their real estate purchases appreciated at.
Artificially inflated rates which they then dumped back into the market place and then left the area with a fat profit in their pockets. The resulting consequence of this market anomaly was a glut of expensive properties left in the inventory pool. Unfortunately, there are many Sellers in today’s market that still expect their homes to sell at the same inflated rates as 2005. Ladies and gentlemen, there has been a much needed market adjustment since that time and those days are long since over. If you are genuinely interested in selling your home, please be prepared to list it a current and fair market value.

And now a word to the prospective Buyers in Washington County. Just like the Sellers who are still arriving late for the 2005 party, the longer you wait, the more likely you will be to miss out on the optimum opportunity to purchase your Washington County home. Inventory is currently at record levels in Washington County. The Board administered Multiple Listing Service has nearly six-thousand properties listed for sale at the present time. This not only provides you with a plethora of options and choices but it also requires serious sellers to negotiate with you on terms and prices. Additionally, the Federal Reserve just cut its Fed Funds Rate, which directly impacts millions of American borrowers just like you! However, accompanying this announcement of a rate reduction came a warning to “Borrowers” as well. Specifically, borrowers waiting for a lower fixed-rate mortgage may be waiting for a long time. Please remember that the markets will remain volatile as long as inflation and recession are a possible threat to the Federal reserve’s long-term economic policies. The Federal Reserve meets again in six weeks, and no one is certain how market volatility and inflation concerns will affect their future policy and decision-making. Bottom line, the smartest and safest time to buy is now.

Finally, a word about our local market. It is not as bad as what you might believe after reading the doom and gloom stories taken off of the Associated Press wire. In fact, Utah led the nation with the greatest home value appreciation between the second quarter of 2006 and the second quarter of 2007 (15.3%). The St.George Metro Area continues to receive national attention as a leader among cities rated most desirable to live, work, and play. This certainly translates into new and diverse growth as the population of Washington County continues to grow at a 6.35% annual rate. Our job growth rate at over 4% is ranked as one of the highest in the nation. Strong job growth results in more families needing homes which is a positive factor in the real estate market. So, for you real estate professionals, please help me promote the positives and lets not be a party to what must certainly be characterized as a self-fulfilling prophecy when we only repeat negative comments.

Much of the attention that St. George real estate is getting today continues to be based on comparisons to the past thanks to the record-breaking years we had earlier in this decade. But if you take a more forward-thinking approach, you see real estate is in an upswing based on indicators such as home supply, interest rates and employment. Not only has it never been easier to find and afford that dream home than right now, but real estate remains one of the best long-term investment options. So, my take home message is plain and simple, “It’s a great time to buy and sell!”

There are also some great opportunities to buy Cedar City real estate.

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