Coming to you from Historic Jackson Square in New Orleans, LA!!! I just had to mix it up a bit, didn't I?

I was in town for the Keller Williams "Family Reunion" where I've had the chance to hear from the absolute best of the best in terms of real estate economics and more. I am typing this to the tune of loud rock music and the hum of nearly 9000 people filing into a session - WOW!

Before running on to real estate, a few short words about New orleans:

1. I figured out why they call it Bourbon Street quite quickly. NOT family friendly!

2. The rest of the French Quarter is exactly what you would imagine - idyllic. Gas lamps, horse-drawn carriages and more.

3. Don't buy the T-shirts.

4. If you ever get a change to stop by "Cafe Du Monde" for freshly fried "Beignets" - make every effort to do so. Cheap and SO.....GOOD.

On to real estate:

We are in a confusing spot in the real estate market currently. A huge boom was followed by a huge crash and now that things have settled significantly, most of us are wondering: "what's next?"

The truth? I'm not sure. BUT, there are 5 "vital signs" that define the health of any real estate market in the world. These signs are looking really good but the mainstream media doesn't share them. Mostly because they don't really understand them.

If you want to look REALLY smart when talking real estate with your buddies, study them, internalize them, and be prepared to shock them with your stunning good looks AND apparently vast knowledge of all things real estate.

1. Sales: Total home sales in the U.S. for 2009 were 10th highest EVER!

2. Home Prices: While 99.9% of crying about our home's value, we need to keep perspective. After the "crash" values are now where they were supposed to be had we kept a "regular" appreciation rate.

3. Inventory: Yes, it's higher than we want, but in St. George real estate inventories are down over 15% from a year ago!

4. Interest Rates: Interest rates began being tracked in 1971. GET THIS: They are the lowest they have EVER BEEN since that time! 5% right now vs. 7.48% in 1971 (and nearly 20% in early 80's!)

5. Affordability: This is the "crown jewel" of real estate vitals. In my opinion, this is the one factor (besides consumer confidence0 that can save our economy. At current levels + interest rates = the most affordable it has EVER BEEN to buy a home....EVER!

Remember that just because it's on the news doesn't mean it's accurate, OR that it even applies to our local market.

If you have a question about what is REALLY going on in our area, or a specific question about your home's value or how much your neighbor sold for, just shoot me an email to larkin@gostgeorge.com and get the REAL scoop!