Been There Done That: Reflections on a Market Shift

Disclaimer: Today’s market and the 2008 – 2011 market are not the same. While it may feel similar, the fundamentals are entirely different. This is about my own experience.

In 2005 I was 25 years old and thought I would never be able to buy a house. Four years later I bought my first house and promptly watched my new investment plummet in value. But we could afford the payments and needed a place to live so we stayed. Housing is shelter and is a basic human need regardless of price.

Today there are many 25 – 35 year olds hoping to buy their first home. Last year I would have encouraged them to buckle down, save as much as possible, and still throw their hat in the ring. It may be exhausting and defeating but at the end of the day, they just might be able to push, shove, and elbow their way into home ownership.

There are more options today. There will be even more options tomorrow. This is challenging sellers and the industry. A home listed at a competitive price last week may no longer be competitive next week. The market is cooling faster than ever before.

I started in title in 2004 and was unaware that the market began slowing in April of 2005 (the Cromford Market Index was not yet available to the public). I had a vague idea things were changing when prices flatted in late 2006. Twelve months later available inventory reached 57,000 – the standing record – and buyers were few and far between. There were only 4,000 properties under contract when inventory hit those record highs. Before builders closed up shop or walked away from projects they offered 4%+ commissions, flat-screen TVs, and even new cars to Realtors who brought buyers. 2008 started with some optimism that was quickly extinguished.

By November, my employer filed for bankruptcy. Only a few weeks later, while on my honeymoon, I learned the company was bought out. Then on December 27, 2008 half of the company was laid off. I survived the cut, my branch closed, and I went to work at corporate. By mid-2009 the magnitude of the housing crash, which continued for another two years, changed how the collective looked at residential real estate.

Since then over one million people have moved to AZ. New challenges and industry leaders have emerged. 50% of licensees today sold real estate prior to 2014. As we face a new shift, one that we saw coming, there is some PTSD, some relief, and a lot of fear; I want to remind the real estate industry that we are resourceful and resilient. We have been beaten up before and lived to tell the tale.

Published by Sarah Perkins

Sarah has been in title & escrow sales since 2004. As an award-winning sales executive and now the Director of Strategic Accounts, Sarah’s role is to bring real estate transactions to Clear Title. To do this, she focuses on supporting her clients and helping them navigate the ever-changing real estate space through thorough research and understanding of current trends impacting today’s home buyers and sellers.

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