Wednesday, September 25, is One-Hit Wonder Day. Having spent the first half of my professional career as a disc jockey in various cities, I’m no stranger to “one-hit wonders.” During my DJ era, I would “spin discs” (as we said back in the day) by one-hit artists like Soft Cell (a former “Gongaware Pick-to-Click”), Norman Greenbaum, and ? and the Mysterians. (I always thought ? was singin’ “you’re gonna cry for 96 years.” Who could count exactly 96 “tears,” I reasoned.) Due to my inability to relate to “adults” throughout much of my radio career, I was spared having to play Debby Boone or C.W. McCall.
Of course, “one-hit wonders” exist in fields other than music. For example, there’s Jeremy Lin, the Hummer, Silly Bandz, and, of course, the Zestimate. The Zestimate is a cleverly named web application meant to provide an estimate of a home’s value. It was created by a media company called Zillow, a property listing “syndicator”…a word disturbingly close to “syndicate.” Their name came about by the company’s desire to meld “zillions” of raw data points (mostly from county tax records) with “pillow.” Really? (I think instead they should have combined “zillion” with “Toro,” the official mascot of the NFL’s Houston Texans. Then they could have called the company “Zorro”…which is much cooler, in my opinion.)
Most of us (self included) are guilty of being tethered to a mobile device. And today’s home buyers are no exception. According to a recent Google survey, mobile apps are used by 68 percent of all new home shoppers; and 20 percent of all real estate searches happen on a mobile device.
Interestingly, while buyers like to search for homes while they are at work, waiting in line, at a restaurant or at someone else’s home, 77 percent of home shoppers say they are using their mobile device to search for homes – at home.
But we’re OK with that. There’s no wrong place to search for a home.
In the latest edition of Carolinas Market Update, I talk about confidence and its considerable impact on today’s real estate market. There are plenty of good reasons to be confident right now. Appreciating home values, more realistic comparables, and a modest increase in interest rates have consumers asking “when do I pull the trigger for my next life move?”
The “confidence factor” is key to a stable and healthy real estate market. As home values continue to appreciate, buyers have a returned confidence in knowing that they can sell their home at a certain price, and buy a home that will increase in value at the same or greater pace.
It’s easy to make bold predictions going into a new year. And I was confident when I shared my 2013 real estate forecast in early January. But when the predictions begin to play out before the end of the first quarter, it’s time to get really excited and optimistic.
So what are we seeing? In the latest edition of Carolinas Market Update, I talk about increased buyer activity, low inventory and improving pending home sales – all strong indicators that real estate is trending well in the Carolinas.
We’re seeing home prices continue to appreciate across the Carolinas. In some areas where job growth has been prevalent, we’re even seeing properties – those that are memorable and priced right – entertain multiple offers.
With less than four months inventory in many Carolinas markets, we’re beginning to shift from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market, with prices appreciating.
One of the key industry indicators, the Pending Home Sales index, is trending especially positive. This measure of homes with signed real estate contracts (but not yet closed) increased from 96.7 in January 2012 to 101.3 in January 2013, the highest level since 110.9 in April 2010, when the Federal Government’s first-time homebuyer credit was near expiration.