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Real Estate Guide 2007
2007 overview
The real estate market was bed-ridden last year but 2007 brings new hope the market will get back on its feet.
2007 Overview
Media coverage can dampen real estate market
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And while the media likely has "some psychological aspect" for the buyer and seller, says Fratantoni, "at the end of the day it's the fundamentals" like affordability, a strong job market and income growth that signal buyers that "it's a good time to get in," he says.

When it comes to buying and selling, "I do think there is something about psychology," says Nicolas Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.

Nationally, home prices increased 60 percent in the period between 2001 and 2006, he says. "If you bought a home five years ago, you're in pretty good shape as far as equity building."

When it comes to the recent decline, "part of it was psychology," Retsinas says. "We had seen interest rates heading up. As we look back, at some point buyers started to wonder, 'Will these exist tomorrow?'"

In addition, home prices had been escalating so much faster than salaries that "the mortgages couldn't bridge the gap between incomes and house prices," he says. "It's almost as if house prices had to take a breather."

All real estate is local
One common complaint from real estate professionals regarding media coverage is the failure to understand and communicate that all real estate is local. So while a bubble, hot market, flipping trend or price decrease gets a lot of media attention, it doesn't mirror the entire market.

"It's a reflection of something going on in one area, in one dynamic spot," says Dave Dalzell, a regional vice president for the NAR. But consumers hear it and get concerned, he says. Then "we have to take and analyze the neighborhood" where they're buying, he says. "My town just had the biggest jump in home values in 20 years," he says. "We think it will slow down some, but won't lose money."

Ken Libby, owner/broker of Stowe Realty in Stowe, Vt., echoes the thought. "The only argument I have with the media is when people try to paint one picture for the whole country," he says. "And you can't do that."

-- Posted: March 8, 2007
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