Real estate pioneer calls the bottom of the market and expects home sales to begin showing modest, steady increases
June 18, 2008 // Franchising.com // MORRIS PLAINS, N.J. – As president and founder of Weichert, Realtors, one of the nation's largest privately-held real estate companies, James M. Weichert has seen his share of market shifts. In fact, Weichert has become quite efficient at predicting changes by regularly studying the factors that shape the housing sector. Yet, this well-respected industry pioneer has never felt so strongly about a market shift that he would come out and declare so publicly – until now.
In a message to the company's nearly 18,000 sales associates as well as approximately 2,000 employees, Weichert announced that "we have reached the bottom of the housing market and will soon begin to see improvements."
"We saw an extraordinarily hot market at the start of the decade like we may never see again. I knew in May 2005 that we had reached the peak of the market when mortgage payments began to stretch beyond buyer affordability," said Weichert. "Now, everything I am seeing is telling me the worst is behind us and we'll begin to see a gradual increase in sales activities."
Weichert acknowledges that the recovery will happen at slightly different times and at different rates throughout the country because real estate remains a local business. "I recognize that some areas locally and some states nationally are not there yet, but by and large, we are turning the corner."
As is typical in real estate, the Northeast appears to be the first area heading in to a new market. In many states, home sales are increasing slightly month over month and the home supply is waning. At the same time, interest rates remain historically-low, foreclosures are on the decline and mortgage money is becoming more readily available again.
Perhaps the biggest factor Weichert feels points to a market on the way back up is the increase in buyer interest. "There is just a lot of pent-up demand right now. We are seeing more traffic to our Web site, more people coming to our Open Houses. Despite the downturn the past few years, life goes on. People continue to get married, have kids and change jobs and buying a new home often goes hand in hand with these life milestones."
To support his belief that the market is now on an upswing, Weichert will incorporate in to its current print and Internet advertising a message to buyers: "You might be guessing, but we're sure. Now is the time to buy."
"I know there are a lot of interested buyers who have sat on the sidelines the past few years either because they lacked confidence in the market or because they were hoping to time their purchase perfectly and buy at the lowest point possible," added Weichert. "I would tell those people there is no more reason for uncertainty or hesitation."
Weichert has nearly 18,000 sales associates in more than 500 company-owned and franchised sales offices in key markets throughout the U.S. A family of full-service real estate and financial services companies, Weichert helps customers buy and sell both residential and commercial real estate, and streamlines the delivery of mortgages and home and title insurance. For more information, Weichert's customer service center can be reached at 1-800-USA-SOLD or at Weichert's Web site, www.weichert.com. Each Weichert franchised office is independently owned and operated.