Many people mistakenly rely on national trends when evaluating the real estate market. The key is to focus on and understand your local market.
The housing market is booming! The housing market is in a downturn. The housing market is expected to do go up or down over the next year. These are all statements you will hear from time to time from alleged real estate gurus on television or radio shows. Should you pay attention to these predictions? No. First, pundits are famous for getting it wrong. More importantly, these individuals are talking about national trends, not your local market. The two markets are distinctly different.
Focusing on your local real estate market is the key to evaluating real estate deals. That being said, it can be a bit tougher to evaluate since there is often less information on particular areas versus the national situation. To understand your real estate market, here are a few things to focus on.
Job growth is the fuel of many real estate markets. Where there is strong growth, there are new workers. New workers need someplace to live. A vast percentage of these people will be moving in from another area and often are bringing money from a previous home. If job growth is strong, your real estate market should be stable and showing appreciation.
New construction is another area to consider when evaluating your market. In this case, we are focusing on supply and demand. The more homes available to buyers, the harder it will be for sellers to move properties. Most communities have some new construction, but the key is to determine if it is outpacing the demand. Las Vegas, for instance, is a city that is realizing serious population increases each year. That being said, the real estate market in the summer of 2006 is very tepid because the construction of new homes has saturated the market. When evaluating your local real estate market, try to get a feel for such an issue.
A secret to evaluating your local real estate market is to look at people around you. One sign of a hot real estate market is the number of people who suddenly become real estate investors. These tend to be people using the equity in their primary home to make secondary purchases. There is no statistical analysis for this factor. Just keep an ear out for friends or neighbors who are suddenly investing in multiple properties.
Trends in the national real estate market are interesting, but often irrelevant when evaluating your local market. Focus on your area and you should be able to better evaluate whether you should sell, hold or buy properties.