In spite of the uncertainty of the housing market in 2007, Smith & Associates Real Estate had a successful year, according to President Bob Glaser, and he expects this year to be even better.
During 2007, when the national media was filled with reports of a major downturn in the real estate market, Smith & Associates was the top-selling real estate office, by volume, in Hillsborough County, according to Glaser. He says the firm sold the highest priced home in Hillsborough County for $4.5 million, listed the second highest priced home at $3.6 million and sold the most properties priced at more than $1 million.
Glaser says the office was No. 1 in sales volume and in units sold as well as in sales volume and units sold of properties listed at more than $1 million for South Tampa. In sales volume and units sold, the company was No. 1 in the price categories between $400,000 and $999,999, as well. Smith & Associates participated in 40 percent of all the waterfront property sales of more than $1 million in South Tampa and sold the most waterfront units priced in excess of $1 million, he says.
Investors may have abandoned the housing market last year, but the primary customer always has been the potential homeowner and now's a great time to buy, Glaser says.
"In fact, there is no better way to build long-term wealth while creating lasting memories than by being a homeowner," he says. "If people are waiting for the right time to buy a home, they should know the facts about the real estate market. Since late November the market has proven consistent sales, leading us to believe we have turned the corner on the market adjustment period."
Glaser also notes that there are financial and personal benefits that come with home ownership.
"Over the last three decades, home values have increased an average of 6.6 percent per year," he says. "The value of a home almost doubles every 10 years, which is a higher rate of return than many investments.
"It's also a place to enjoy your lifestyle and your loved ones," he says.
Recently, the National Association of Realtors mounted an advertising campaign, which noted that more than 8,600 homes were sold in the Tampa Bay area during the second quarter of 2007 and future demand for housing is strong, Glaser says. He cites an article in Forbes magazine last year that stated the strong local economy ensured a V-shaped recovery in the Tampa Bay area real estate market, where the market enters a rapid sharp decline but recovers quickly.
"We've had continued job growth and low unemployment in the Tampa Bay area," Glaser says. "With more than 44,000 new local jobs added over the past two years, our economy is stronger than most metropolitan areas in the country."
Eric Weiss, senior loan officer of Smith & Associates Mortgage, says recent actions by the Fed bode well for buyers, too.
"With the Federal Reserve reducing the federal fund's rate a total of 1.25 percent since Jan. 22, many people with Home Equity Lines of Credit will see their payments go down, since many HELOC loans are tied to the prime rate," Weiss says. "Overall, whenever the Fed lowers rates, it creates positive public sentiment and an added awareness of the long-term mortgage interest rates.
"The combination of current low interest rates and a large inventory of homes has created a great opportunity for people to purchase a home," he says. "It is also a great time to refinance an existing adjustable rate mortgage into a fixed payment, which provides peace of mind knowing that the monthly principle/interest payment will remain the same over the life of the loan."
As Smith & Associates looks to continue to prosper, Glaser says one big reason for the firm's success is the quality of its agents.
Smith & Associates Real Estate has continued to seek out and hire the best agents in the area, he says. Many have been with the company an average of 10 years or more.
"At Smith & Associates Real Estate, we are committed to keeping our customers informed and ahead of the curve," Glaser says. "We offer a team of the most professional sales associates in the Bay area and a myriad of services to make your real estate transactions seamless."
For information, visit www.smithandassociates.com or call (813) 839-3800.