With the market correcting, interest rates rising, and a potential recession looming, there's good reason to be spooked, but let's give these scary circumstances a break for the week, and celebrate those who joyfully decorate their pets, kids and houses, in spite of market events that keep a few of us awake at night . . . .
Happy 700 issues to me! More than 17 years ago, I started emailing an out-of-area Buyer about our local marketplace. He wanted to know what houses were coming, what was currently on the market, and what homes had just sold and for how much. After several weeks of analysis and aggregation, I figured my efforts were worthy of sharing more broadly; and so, The Piedmont Perspective was born, AND because I'm a gal who is known to have an opinion (or two), the essays quickly followed suit. (If only I had written 700 Seinfeld episodes).
"Why scare Buyers?" the email said. "I've worked on Wall Street for 25 years and markets correct . . . " (Yes they do.)
For the record, "scaring" Buyers or Sellers is never my intention (speaking honestly and openly with them is).
Listen; everyone's entitled to their own opinion. In fact, I welcome friendly/courteous/respectful debate but if Realtors® (or stock brokers) had a crystal ball that could accurately project future market trends, there'd be NO debate, and this stuff would be easy (it's not).
"The interest rates have gone way up," my Buyers said. "We're not sure we can afford Piedmont/Oakland/Berkeley anymore. . . "
I hear you. The higher cost of money is a tough nut to swallow.
In all seriousness, if you feel your purchasing power has eroded significantly during the past few months, that's because it has. But for those Buyers choosing to sit it out on the assumption that the market is going to correct further still (it very well may), how's it going to feel when the Feds increase the rates again - as they are expected to do the next two times they meet - and suddenly, you can afford even less?
"The 24" ovens you ordered are too small," Jill said over the phone, "the installer says they need to be 27" wide."
Ironically, I'd denied the earlier shipment of a 30" double-oven the previous Saturday because that installer said "it was too large."
At which point, Sarah and I jumped on the phone and started looking for 27" stainless-steel double-ovens that would be "just right."
"Sorry, we're all sold out," we heard over and over again. "We can order you one but it won't arrive until late November."
Thanks, but that's not gonna work.
First, I want to start out this week's newsletter by thanking the families who showed up last week to meet new friends and fellowship with one another. More than 250 of you RSVP'd you'd be attending and with the addition of Movie Night in the Park, coupled with a perfect fall evening, we had a FANTASTIC turnout for "Newcomers Night" at the Community Center.
Along with ginormous charcuterie boards and sparkling water, the soft ice cream (with sprinkles) flowed nonstop until after 8:00pm, and there wasn't a leftover cracker or slice of cheese to be had (much to my son's dismay). All in all, it was a resounding success, thanks to the good intentions and efforts of more than a few caring folks, AND Sarah and I were pleased to underwrite this first-time ever "Newcomers Night." All in favor of making this an annual event, say "frosty please!" (We're game if you are.)
"I'm moving from the midwest for a new job," the woman said, "and I'm bringing four kids ages 11-15 with me." she continued. "We need a house, school directions, and a tutor. Can you help?"
Why yes, I can.
This story reminds me of my own journey some 20 years ago. While I didn't have four kids to transplant (two was plenty), we only knew one family in town, we were transferring our children from their private school in the city, leaving a group of friends we cherished, and also needed a tutor for one of our boys who had unexpectedly been diagnosed with a "learning difference." It's a story that repeats over and over.
"Before we list your house on our site," the man said, "we need to establish if the property is distressed or not,"
LOL, that's a good one. While I understand what he meant, coming off of a particularly challenging week, the concept of "stress" certainly wasn't lost on me.
To be clear, what the representative meant was - is the house showing its age? How well has it been maintained? Has it been remodeled or renovated? What is the current condition of the property? And how does it currently present . . . .
“A bit of shopping, flower market, sconces & tea!“ Jill’s cheerful text message said, after landing safely in London to visit her elder daughter, Anna. (I’m certain she meant scones - not sconces.)
Since hiring Jill, nearly. a decade ago, she’s become so valuable in her role as “project liaison,” that we’d truthfully be lost without her. Jill expertly mans (womans) the ship and coordinates 1001 moving parts with expert precision.
But no wonder the typo, Jill manages half a dozen projects simultaneously . . .
Because this piece captures the current marketplace better than I could ever say it, AND because so many of you are interested in what's next, AND because I'm off to replant a garden that got beat up in this week's heatwave (in lieu of writing this week's blog), I'm outright stealing from COMPASS' own prolific Leonard Steinberg - one of NYC's most successful and endearing agents. Please enjoy it as much as I did . . . .
"As the world battles high inflation fueled by a combination of excess cheap capital, intense pent-up demand mixed with supply-chain shortages, continue COVID outbreaks, health-related labor disruptions, energy under-investment, an ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, and rising interest rates, etc, the FED is looking at housing as one of the key drivers of inflation that needs to be slowed or stopped.
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 670 essays on life and real estate.