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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!

Blood, Sweat & St. George Short Sales

by Jeremy Larkin

Some of you may remember my post “Your Agent was trying to help you when they said Short Sales Suck!” from May 2008.

Nearly 2 years have passed from that day and in many ways, Short Sales still DO suck, but their time of “sucky-ness” (don’t look that up, NOT a word) may be soon coming to an end.

As we are all so very aware, the Federal Government has decided to stick their fingers in just about everything we do with the exception of which sugar cereal we feed to our children. (that’s probably coming…)

In a rare flash of brilliance, some of their new legislation could actually be the best thing to hit Buyers, Sellers and Real Estate in General in a long time.

The problem with short sales has always been summed up in a few major points:

  • Short Sales take too long (as in 3 to as many as 10 months!)
  • The eventual outcome of the Buyer’s original offer is always unknown (The chances of actually getting the home you offered on was a literal craps shoot)
  • They were a miserable ton of work for every single person involved in the transaction

See, the bank that the Seller is no longer making a mortgage payment to (in most cases) typically hasn’t APPROVED the sale of the home at the list price. So Buyers come along looking at a home listed for $150k that the bank may only let go for $170k. That’s just not right, totally confusing and emotionally painful.

New legislation proposed by the US Treasury would make the following changes to the Short Sale process:

1)      Banks would be FORCED to respond in 10 days or less! (Vs. 30-90 in a typical case)

2)      Sellers – yes, the SELLERS who couldn’t pay their mortgages could possibly get up to $1500 for relocation costs

3)      1st Mortgage Holders could get $1000 per closed short sale

4)      2nd Mortgage Holders (the stickiest short-sale killers in the business) could get $3000 per closed sale

Will this come to pass? I don’t know. You can bet they will be taking money from mine and your pockets to fund the plan though, which is one of the negative side-effects of the plan. Does the “disease merit the treatment?”

Shoot me some feedback.

BUYERS – have you been involved in trying to secure a short sale? What kind of experience was it?

SELLERS – are you in that same position? Honestly, is it a HUGE pain in the neck or what?

Doesn't it seem like the real estate discussions get a little "SERIOUS?" I think so, which is why I wanted to kick off February 2010 "quick and light" with a brief discussion about some of the great things going on in St. George this Winter & Spring!

Heritage Days Celebration, a.k.a. "St. George's Birthday":  This actually already passed, held the week of January 15th. As you will see in the video above, I ran into St. George Mayor Dan McArhur, along with the entire St. George Council, dishing out free Root Beer Floats and chumming it up with the public.

Why you don't want to miss next year: In addition to root beer floats, St. George City offered free swimming at Sand Hollow Aquatic center and free bus rides on the "SunTran" system all day long.

St. George Area Parade of Homes - 20th Anniversary, February 12-21, 2010:  My wife enjoys a "love-hate" relationship with the parade of homes. She LOVES the homes, then HATES ours when she gets home!

Why you don't want to miss: I have always maintained the most luxury of those on parade rival the most lavish of fine homes anywhere in the country, the weather is great, and for $12.50/person you can see 25 of the greatest homes in St. George.    

Ford Ironman St. George - May 1, 2010: This is HUGE news. There are only 7 Ford Ironman events in the Continental US, and even fewer held on Saturday. 2.4 mile swim at Sand Hollow Reservoir, 112 Mile bike that runs through Gunlock & more, wrapped up with 26.2 mile FULL marathon. In 1 day. Ouch.

Why you don't want to miss: While I haven't completed an Ironman, I HAVE done a marathon and ridden 100 miles, including most of this course. This is an EPIC course, perhaps the toughest in the U.S. If you thought the buzz for the St. George Marathon was big, just wait until you feel the electricity (and incoming marketing $$) from Ford Ironman. Unreal!

   

So St. George has come a long way from Dick's Cafe, Old Highay 91 over Utah Hill and our beloved 9-hole Dixie Red Hills Golf Course. I feel blessed not only be a resident, but to be a true local!

If you want more details or thoughts on the above events and other great activities, shoot me an email at larkin@gostgeorge.com.

 

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Photo of Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group Real Estate
Jeremy Larkin - The Larkin Group
Keller Williams Realty
50 E 100 S, Suite 300
St. George UT 84770
435.767.9886
Fax: 435-359-5085

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