Officials with Smith & Associates Real Estate think many factors are coming together to help revive the housing market. Falling inventory, lower interest rates and federal programs aimed at saving homes from foreclosure are helping give the market a shot in the arm, they say.
In Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, the home listing inventory is lower today than it has been in the past five years (compares both residential and multi-family condominium properties), according to the company's recently released market analysis and forecast for the Bay area. Its research also shows stability in values for homeowners and notes that there are more signs that the market likely is at or near its bottom.
And Smith & Associates is not alone in its belief that the market is improving.
The Greater Tampa Association of Realtors reports there was a slight upward trend in closings over last year. Plus, sales this year are expected to top 2008's.
"The qualified buyer today is armed with the best information. Combined with record low interest rates and government incentives, making a smart long-term investment in housing is a viable option," says Bob Glaser, CEO of Smith & Associates. "At Smith & Associates, with 152 homes closed in 2009 to date, we are looking forward to helping all buyers who wish to take advantage of this right time to buy."
So, why do Glaser and others at Smith & Associates think the market is stabilizing? Its data showed that housing values took their greatest adjustment in 2008, with sellers having to adjust value to meet buyers' purchasing power. The study found that total dollar volume began to trend up in November and December, signaling stabilization in values as sales increased and inventories in some neighborhoods saw a decrease.
To help further spur home buying, Smith & Associates has launched new tools on its Web site, including Customer LifeCycle Management, individual property Web sites, individual Realtor Web sites, enhanced tools for listing and streaming video, customer and agent reporting tools, mobile technology interfaces and advanced mapping technology through Google Maps.
"Our partnership with Active Web will set our Web site apart and it will offer the best consumer interaction and ease of use," Glaser says. "With over 87 percent of buyers today searching via the Internet for their homes, Smith's sellers will find the exposure will bring the visibility to bring about a successful sale."
The company already is seeing results.
"With many of the new tools being activated at smithandassociates.com, we have sold 236 homes over the last four months. These buyers actively worked with Smith through our Web site to narrow their choices and find a home.
"In the luxury market, we have been fortunate in the same period of time to have sold and have pending 30 sales over $1 million. That falls into a category of marketing designed to give the sellers and buyers the best information to be current and to make the best decisions," Glaser adds.
Visit the Web site or call (813) 367-3409 to find a Smith & Associates agent.