Friday, April 3, 2020

Governor Modifies and Clarifies Executive Order

Here in Washington State, Governor Inslee made a few modifications to the Executive Order "Stay Home" originally issued last week. The governor modified the real estate profession requirements to allow limited showings and generally loosened up the industry restrictions during the "stay home" order. He also made some "clarifications" about the construction industry that has sent home the majority of construction industry workers. Construction is effectively shut down as of now except for critical infrastructure and emergency projects.

I appreciate the governor giving some latitude to real estate but I think some of that latitude should be extended to the construction trades as well. I am familiar with construction activities and most construction projects have workers space at 6 feet or further 90% of the time and the systems in place could be modified by project managers to gain 100% compliance.

I do not envy the position of the president or any of our state governors as they have to make important decisions that can be a matter of life and death as well as the cause economic calamities. I still believe the governor is a bit heavy handed here with the COVID-19 response. Now this is an important and dangerous situation so I am not of the mind to suggest the governor should not have taken decisive action, in fact to the contrary, I think he had to. But the economy is also import as it is the lifeblood for healthcare, well being, and ultimately funds the government's operations.

Governor Inslee needs to keep as many people employed as possible in any position that can honor the 6 foot distancing. Where the governor can be heavy handed is in the enforcement of that 6 foot rule and any other COVID-19 mandates. Project managers do not want to face heavy fines or a shutdown over workers failing to comply, so site supers would be more than willing to crack down and keep everyone safe.

Factories and other operations where stations are close, could be modified to run half ops with half the stations closed and other modifications to the systems to keep workers employed should be considered. Even restaurants could have been open with 1/3 to 1/2 cap restrictions but I know that is unlikely to be approved.

The bottom line is that buyers and sellers can still execute their transactions and the governor is to be commended for seeing that real estate procedures can be modified to comply with the government safety mandate for COVID-19. Irregardless of one's personal political views, we should all support the governors of every state as they try and deal with this difficult situation. This is not the time for petty politics.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Governor's Lock-down and Real estate

On Monday the Governor here in Washington State, decided to go to a stay home policy that has more or less shut down all 'non-essential' business and services. For real estate that means we as realtors cannot show property to prospects nor can we engage in things such as an open house. For the home inspectors, they are linked to the "essential construction industry" and as such can with some limitations perform home inspections for pending transactions. It also seems that appraisers are still able to do their thing as well. So pending transactions should be OK during this shut down.

However the buying and selling process is going to be slowed down for all active listings in the area until such time the government returns to a more "normal" status. If we can get this thing under control soon, say in the next 30-45 days, we should be right back on track for a reasonable real estate market. I believe that at least some negative fallout in the form of some layoffs and such will result. For buyers in the entry-level price ranges this could be a blessing in disguise as that potential "fallout" would soften the number of qualified buyers seeking homes and make life a little easier in the hunt once it resumes hopefully before May.

Whatever the outcome economically there are going to be some winners and losers. The losers are those that unfortunately lost jobs or opportunities due to this government lock-down. They will get their chance to return after things perk up. The winners need to be ready to strike when the lock-down is lifted. 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Virus versus Housing

Last week I mentioned that the Wuhan Corona virus and associated economic issues might lead to an influx of cash for real estate. That has not materialized yet. Bonds, Gold, Hard Money, all of the normal flow points for equities in distress are also down. That means the wealthy "market makers" are holding onto cash. This is very surprising to me because there are few if any places on this planet where cash is earning money, in fact in many countries cash COSTS money.

I believe that investors are genuinely spooked by this virus and are waiting for the cases to start declining rather than continuing upwards. Once the dust settles they will likely move that cash back into equities, bonds, gold or where ever they think the best opportunity is. Until that happens mortgage interest rates will continue to climb, the stock market will remain flat or possibly dip lower. We really have to wait to see what the "big financial fish" do before we can get a handle on the long term market effects for real estate and other sectors.

Locally our housing market hasn't reacted that much to this condition. There does seem to be a tad less buyers out and about house hunting, but well priced homes seem to be getting traction despite the doom and gloom. Hopefully Washington's governor will not go too far with the draconian wand like they have in California, Oregon, and New York. Yes, we need to keep people safe, but there are also practical limits to this thing and I believe the aforementioned states have already tread into those murky waters of over reaction.

That said, we should all be mindful of the call for some social distancing and limit excursions to solo activities and necessary outings. Looking at houses is necessary :)


Friday, March 13, 2020

Stock Market Tanks, Is Housing OK?

Wall Street is having a hemorrhage over the Corona virus (COVID-19) and the broad stock market has managed to shed more than a quarter of its value in just two weeks time. Is this as bad as it looks? The short answer is: "not really." In my estimation the stock market was a bit overvalued and all it needed was a trigger event to cause some major adjustment. This sell off is an overreaction to a near non-event. However the over reaction may be deliberate on the part of the major market players, the uber rich.

In contrast to the so called "Great Recession" that began at the end of 2008, this event is not being "triggered" by an underlying financial crisis like we had in 2008. Leading up to the last recession, back in '08 there were several real and identifiable problems including a fair bit of corrupt behavior in the mortgage lending business as well as a few government fails on SEC regulations and banking. The 2008 crisis was real. This crisis is simply an excuse for super rich billionaires to take massive profits on what was largely considered to be a puffed up stock market.

The core economic indicators are still much stronger than they were in 2008. That said, this could potentially become something to worry about if the actual job market starts to soften as a result. I still think that isn't going to happen just because of this Corona scare and the recent Wall Street sell-off. A broad economic downtown will require other issues than an overblown virus. Make no mistake, the Corona virus is being exploited. As of this writing less than 5,000 people have died from this COVID-19 virus, on a planet populated by 7.6 BILLION. This year's influenza season (flu) is expected to take the lives of some 700,000 people worldwide. 

Although Corona virus is more aggressive in its spread and in certain risk categories it is more deadly, it however is not a big enough problem to warrant the market response we see here. It has become political in nature and that has created as much a problem as the actual virus itself.

It is important to remember that the rich billionaires that sold early in the market slide are sitting on massive piles of cash. These guys sold off $6.5 trillion last week, this week all of the small investors were in a panic and sold off their positions making matters even worse for them and BETTER for the rich guys. The billionaires will come back into the market after the dust settles and buy back their positions for 60 to 70 cents on the dollar. They will make all the money back again plus a tidy bit extra. Right now about $10 TRILLION in stock market cash has exited the Wall Street equities market and now is circulating in other markets.

What is important is that there is idle cash in the marketplace right now. The billionaires don't like idle cash. Even if the super rich start buying back stocks soon, they will ultimately have surplus cash and some of that cash will likely find its way into the economy via lending, capital investment, and venture capital. Much of this will drive real estate projects that often need large chunks of up front cash to get started.

Treasuries are not yielding much at the moment so investors will look to bonds, mortgages, and other real estate funding for better returns over the long haul. Again the investors will come back to the stock market after the panic subsides and when that happens some of this potential cash for real estate development will go away. Developers should be jumping on this opportunity for financing NOW!

In the current marketplace we still see strong employment, rising wages, low mortgage interest rates, and healthy investment in real estate. The housing market still looks pretty rosy for the rest of our spring season. I am seeing a tightening in inventory and more aggressive offers from buyers and that is also an indicator at least for the short term that conditions in housing are solid. 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Low Rates Spur Refinances, Caution is Advised

Many people may see super low interest rates on mortgages and think about a refinance. I spent an entire chapter in my 2010 book, "Don't Panic" about the math behind a refinance and that sometimes, a refi isn't as good as it looks. Mortgage interest is "front loaded." This means you pay the bulk of the interest in the first 10 years of the loan. When you refinance you often end up paying MORE interest even if your rate and payment is lower.

I am not saying that a refinance is "bad" but rather a refinance should be carefully thought out, especially if the homeowner is taking out cash. I have done many mortgage refinances over the decades with numerous properties. I have done them wrong and I have done them right. One should be cautious of what they use the money for when doing a refi. I absolutely DO NOT recommend taking cash out of a primary residence to fund things like cars, boats, or vacations. This is always a bad idea.

I am also very cautious about taking cash out of a primary residence to consolidate short term debts. If the debts are manageable the homeowner may be better off just whacking those debts down with heavy payments. The only thing that hurts a consumer more than a high rate of interest is a long term of payment. So a car payment at 7% interest with 3 years to go is better left alone than refinancing that debt over 30 years and taking valuable and secure equity from your home. Lets say the car was 0 down, $40,000 originally financed at 7% for 6 years. If the car is halfway through the loan cycle, the bulk of the interest is already paid. The balance is down to $16,408 after three years. There is only $1,100 remaining in interest on the loan. Refinancing that $16,408 over 30 years even at 4% will cost the debtor TEN TIMES as much interest! $11,792 in interest over 30 years. If money is tight and the car payment has gotten difficult to manage, it is often possible to refinance the car.

I am a strong proponent of using mortgage cash to improve the property. That doesn't mean buying furniture by the way. Remodel the kitchen, put in new landscaping, new siding and paint, etc. This improves the value of the house and thus helps to maintain the homeowners equity position despite increasing the balance owed. If the homeowner uses credit cards to purchase the home improvements, then refinances to pay that short term debt off, that works fine. Doing the improvements up front will at least result in a better property appraisal and possibly a lower rate on the new mortgage due to a potentially lower LTV.

Typically a cash out refinance will cost the homeowner either up front fees or a higher interest rate. Often that rate can be 1/4 to 1/2 percent which adds up to thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

Ultimately if a homeowner intends to stay in the house for more than 5 years and can improve the rate of interest by a full percentage point, a refinance makes good sense particularly if doing a rate and term loan with no cash out.

Remember that every situation is unique and I am only suggesting that careful thought and study goes into the refinance decision. Furthermore find a local loan professional you can sit down with and go over the facts and figures. Don't do something as important as a mortgage with some shady online firm that teases you with a seemingly low rate. Mortgage rates are simply not that far apart in the real world. Mortgages are traded on wall street and investors are not paying a very big spread so when one bank shows a rate that is 1/2 percent lower than most others, you WILL be paying for that somewhere in the fee tree! There is absolutely NO FREE LUNCH in the lending business, no matter what the sleazy spokesperson says. Mortgages are highly complex devices and as such it is easy to "pull the wool over the eyes" of even the most brilliant people.

When I refinance a house, especially my primary residence, I look at more than just the rate. I look at what my current principal payment is each month at the time of refi, what the new principal payment will be, how much total interest did I add to the end of loan. Why am I concerned about principal reduction? Because home equity is the VERY reason buying is better than renting. When a home owner erodes the equity in the home, they erode the value of ownership, it should not be taken lightly.

Remember that when someone refinances a house they are in a loan already and they have paid that loan down to some extent. If someone is 5 years into a mortgage and they refi at 30 years they are postponing the eventual payoff by another 5 years. That adds total interest to the mix. When I do a rate and term refi, I also calculate the amount of time the new lower payment takes to cover the expense of doing the loan. If the loan fees are $3000 and I am saving $100 per month then I recover those fees after 30 months. If I refi the house again or sell it in less than 30 months I lost money on the refi! A good loan officer will go over these types of details with every prospect and that is worth far more than any slight difference in rate one might pay at a less quality firm.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Wall Street Takes Profits, Mortgage Rates Dive Lower!

This has been a brutal week for stocks with the Dow Jones shedding more than 4000 points since Monday. Investors are taking profits and covering margin calls, but enough money flew towards mortgage securities to show a significant improvement over the course of the week. I wouldn't be surprised if loan officers all across the fruited plain have sore fingers from clicking the "rate lock" button all day today.

If you are a buyer your purchasing power improved this week and that means either more house or a lower payment, maybe even BOTH! My two cents is that the stock market was a bit over valued , and adding the Corona virus fears was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. Once the Corona situation settles down the market will return to a robust improvement. The basic economic indicators are very solid and that should lead to a recovery in the markets by the middle of Q2. If I'm right then mortgage rates may start to creep up again around late May or June.

I don't expect to see any dramatic mortgage rate increases at all in 2020, but even a slight upward tick can drop a buyer's purchasing power by several thousand dollars. Sellers still hold the advantage in the local market under $500,000 so buyers need all the help they can get. Wall Street just handed buyers a an early Christmas present.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Spring Activity can be a Harbinger for Summer

The first teases of spring are in the air round these parts. Yesterday the temp climbed up into the mid 50s and the sun was ablaze in a clear blue sky all day. My listings all got extra action this week under all that sunshine. That is sometimes a sign of what is to come when the "real spring" arrives later in March.

The early question is whether or not we will see a rush of listings to fill the demand of a hungry market. Analysts seem to think 2020 will be a solid if not modest marketplace for Clark County, WA. New construction continues to add inventory but most of that is in the middle market with pricing between $450-$600k.

Buyers in that sub $450k market typically have to buy a smallish new house or a larger resale home. The resale market has been tight with fewer listings than buyers and that makes things a bit nerve racking for the buyer in that starter price range. Buyers in the middle to upper end of the price range can relax a bit as inventory exceeds demand at the moment. It isn't that there is a glut at the top, just a slight advantage for the buyers. Once you breech the seven figure market buyers tend to be a bit picky regardless of market conditions. 

If March and April bring an above average boost to the inventory we might settle in for a neutral summer. If owners continue to hold on to their homes it could be a long summer for those beleaguered buyers. Only time will tell, but March is just around the corner and if the 3rd month is warm and springlike, we could see the rush early this year.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Non-Local Firms Listing Properties

There has been a disturbing trend with out of area brokerages listing local properties. Although a brokerage anywhere in Washington State can list a property anywhere in the state, this business is very local. Many of these so-called discount brokerages are listing properties and not putting them on the proper local multiple listing service. A broker in Seattle is likely a member of the NWMLS that serves a large portion of Washington but does NOT serve as the local MLS for SW Washington and Vancouver. This area uses the RMLS. If a local house in Vancouver, WA is listed on NWMLS and NOT the RMLS it will not get the proper exposure in the local marketplace. In fact it is safe to say that 90% of the local Realtors® will not see it. 

This is a gross disservice to the seller who is likely to get far less attention than their home deserves. Furthermore this area is uniquely different than other areas in Washington state. I have seen homes horribly priced that sold for tens of thousands less than they should have fetched because a Realtor® based 150 miles away didn't price it right. That seller may have saved $5,000 on the commission but they left $30,000 on the proverbial table.

Real estate is a highly localized business and sellers are well advised to hire someone local. Sellers ought to make sure their home is at least listed on the local MLS. In the Clark County, Vancouver area we use the Regional Multiple Listing Service (RMLS) which has its SW Washington office in Downtown Vancouver.

Some of the worst offenders of this out of area listing debacles, are large national internet companies who are simply interested in churning commissions and not giving the seller the best opportunity to receive the highest and best offer on their property.

The old adage that you get what you pay for is alive and well in the 21st Century. Sellers often step over the proverbial quarter to pick up a nickel. With real estate that is not a 20 cent mistake, it can be a twenty thousand dollar mistake. Seller beware, a good Realtor® does not come cheaply, but that Realtor® will represent your best interest and help you have a much better outcome.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Downtown Condo Market Feeling the Squeeze

Downtown condos are becoming a scarce commodity. 2019 saw a steady tightening of the condo market in the urban core of Vancouver. Now as of this writing, there is only ONE urban condo listed in Downtown Vancouver. There are roughly 500 condo units in Vancouver's Esther Short neighborhood (Downtown & Waterfront) and just ONE is listed. One can visit my Urban Living in the 'Couv' site and track the activity over the last 12 months to see that this time last year there were dozens listed.

Downtown Vancouver is on a serious upswing. There is a positive transformation happening and many people, young and old, are looking to be a part of the sustainable lifestyle of urban living.

There is a robust level of new construction in the Downtown/Waterfront area but most of it is apartments. Thousands of new units are under construction. These new units will bring fresh residents to Downtown and many will decide to stake a claim and buy a condo.

At the moment there is one building going up on the waterfront that will offer condominiums for sale, the 12 story Kirkland Tower which is slated to have 40 units in the upper reaches of pricing. Gramor Development has plans for a 14 story condo tower with 80-82 units. That is still in the early planning stages however. It seems Vancouver is on the brink of a serious shortage of condo units downtown.

Buyers are flocking to downtown but there is nothing to buy. Now is a great time to list your urban condo in Vancouver, WA. As a specialist in the urban condo market, I have never seen it this tight. Call me if you have a condo Downtown and are thinking about selling. 

Friday, January 31, 2020

Is the market tightening up again?

Maybe this is nothing more than an anecdote, but our real estate market last year really felt like it was moving towards neutral conditions. But the market has come out a bit hot in the first month of this year with more buyers and not much extra inventory for them.

Now if you have the coin to toss around for something in the $600,000 plus range, you should have no trouble finding an eager seller. But down in the 'trenches' of the mainstream, things seem a bit tight and sellers are starting to take control again.

Perhaps the fact that interest rates are again dipping down into the 3's for well qualified borrowers, the buyers are swarming again! What ever the case, it will be interesting to see if the spring listing season levels the playing field or is met with an equal dose of hungry buyers.

Marketing trends seem to indicate that inventory levels are steady at a quick clip of around 2 months to a pending sale. Well priced homes will see bidding and overpriced houses may sit, but this market decided that 2020 was gonna be a 'thing.'

Buyers ought check in with their loan officer and make sure they can capitalize on these reduced rates and sellers should get ready for more showings because things are looking good for Q1.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Condo versus House

Many people ask about the differences between owning a condo versus a house and this is a very important question. There are multiple differences and they impact ownership on a legal level as well as a personal utility perspective. Neither is actually better or worse they both have a place in our system and one may be definitively better depending on your situation.

Owning a home versus renting is a different issue. Both houses and condos offer the equity opportunity and the ability to own outright the property. The value of the property will most likely increase over time and this adds an investment angle to the utility of a house. Condos are no different in this regard than a house.

First difference between a condo and a house is the legal difference. How ownership is held is very different in a condo than in most detached houses. When you own a condominium you have two types of ownership. You own the physical interior space in a condo much like you own the entirely of the property with most detached homes. However the physical structure and the underlying land property in a condo is co-owned collectively by all the homeowners. In most situations there is a home owners association with elected board members that manage the property including the maintenance of structures and common areas outside of the units themselves. This collective ownership has benefits and consequences that effect the use of the property. With a tradition house, the owner owns thee land and structures as well as the land rights beneath the surface and the airspace above (with a few government exceptions). With a condo you have limited ownership rights outside the interior walls of the unit.

Legal benefits to condo ownership:

  • Limited personal liability outside of your interior space 
  • Voting rights to the control and use of common areas, effectively allowing for some limited control of neighbors external use of property.   
Legal consequences to condo ownership:

  • Limited legal control over exterior use and utility of property
  • Severely limited structural use of property
  • Reliance on external ownership body for structural and external maintenance.
Second difference in a condo versus a house is the utility of the property. this is touched on above in the legal differences, but utility is the owners use of property. Inside the walls of the unit a condo has the same utility as a detached home. Outside the building however is a more cooperative setting whereby you have a fractional ownership and thus a shared usage of the exterior property.

Utility benefits to a condo:

  • Little or no exterior maintenance or yard work for homeowners
  • Shared ownership of entire community (within condominium complex or building)
  • Homeowners Insurance is typically less expensive since structural fire damage is covered by the HOA
Utility consequences to a condo:

  • HOA has control over the use of exterior and common areas that may limit owners use of that space.
  • Maintenance of structure subject to HOA timelines, funding, and efficiency.
These are just a few concepts but the biggest advantage to a condo is the ability to have the equity ownership in real property without the structural maintenance and exterior yard work. The primary disadvantage is the opposite whereby wanting a garden or yard, or to make exterior modifications is usually difficult or impossible with condo.

There is something to be said for both and each has a welcome place in the real estate universe.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Infill Continues in Vancouver's Older Neighborhoods

Vancouver has been pushing urban infill for years now and the trend of tightening up older areas and vacant lots has not slowed. It has continued at a blistering pace. The city is pushing developers to build more units per acre and is quite ready to authorize high-rise and mid-rise apartment and condo buildings to help keep the city growing without gobbling up the remaining open space in Clark County.

The city is also allowing a fair number of ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) in town including many of the older neighborhoods such as Rose Village.

These accessory dwelling units are not intended as multi-family but in fact act a bit like it. Housing, particularly affordable housing for young people and elderly people is very tight in out local market. ADUs are generally something that is ideal for an elderly parent or an adult child either of which prefer to remain close to "home" but independent. Often an ADU is built for that specific purpose but later on when the family member no longer needs to ADU often it becomes an affordable rental for someone.

Vancouver has been reasonably loose on issuing permits for these types of structures and in the current state of our local rental market it is a good thing. The city has been concerned with urban sprawl and ADUs are one way to help combat it.

One only need to drive around the city to see that density has been the modus operandi for much of the new development, especially in the greater Downtown area. with current trends, and ADU can significantly increase the value of a property. Whether the value will increase commensurate with the cost of improvements depends largely on the type of improvement needed to pull it off and the local governments continued support of ADUs as rental units.

An ADU can be as simple as a converted garage, of attic over the garage to a completely detach and separate structure. The latter is likely a fair bit more expensive. Before any homeowner starts hammering away, a check with the local government to be sure any proposed project is in compliance is a must.

Depending on a homeowners circumstances and ADU may solve a personal family dilemma while improving the vale of the property.

Friday, January 10, 2020

State of the Market 2020

Last week I gave brief outlook on the market for 2020 but today I will dive into the "state of the market" at the moment. Right now we have a bit of a tale of two markets if you'll pardon the Charles Dickens reference. In fact it may be a tale of three markets.

Breaking down conditions by relative price points will show that conditions vary wildly depending on price range. Now locations and neighborhood specific variables always play a big role in the real estate market, we tend to have broad market indicators that typically effect most segments similarly. But not so much right now. I will rate the market conditions based on a 20 point scale 0 is dead neutral. 1-10 Seller's market and -1 to -10 Buyer's Market. Take a look below:

Single Family Detached housing

  • < $300,000 +5 Seller's Market multiple offers common on well priced properties, overpriced listings linger but ultimately sell.
  • $300,000 - $400,000 +3 Seller's Market multiple offers on well priced home under $350k not so much above that. Marketing time @30 days
  • $400,000 - $550,000 0 Neutral Conditions are prevailing with neither side seeing an advantage. Even well priced homes may require some marketing time. Typical days on market 30-45
  • $550,000 - $700,000 -2 Buyer's Market. Buyers have the upper hand here due largely to an expanded inventory and a fair amount of high end new construction filling the space. Marketing time in this price range for properly priced homes is likely to exceed 60 days.
  • $700,000 - $1,000,000 -4 Buyer's Market. Although pricing in the range is holding steady inventory exceeds buyer capacity at this price range. Buyer's have many options. Marketing time in this segment will approach 90 days for properly priced properties, well priced properties will sell faster, of course.
  • > $1,000,000 -6 Buyer's Market. This segment is notoriously slow due largely to the limited number of qualified buyers in this upper range of pricing. Again like the last segment, pricing is holding up, but demand is weaker in the lofty price range so marketing time can be quite long.

Often times news media will present broad market conditions and as such this broad market is neutral with neither buyers nor sellers holding the advantage. But looking more closely at individual segments tells another story. So broadly speaking, it is neither the "best of times", nor the "worst of times" pardon again the Dickens reference. But buyers in the bottom pricing segments will still find a competitive environment, mid range is neutral, and high end buyers can kick a few tires before buying.

Generally these conditions are healthy and sustainable. Pricing appreciation should remain in the 2-5% year over year range and that is long term sustainable that allow incomes to keep pace and homeowners to gain needed equity.

2020 is looking good.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Happy New Year: 2020 Real Estate Outlook

Well here we are again in the US another presidential election cycle... yay... you feel the lack of enthusiasm? I will not venture into politics here but I will encourage everyone of legal voting age to vote. So presidential election years often lead to flat economic conditions. It seems the closer we get to the election the more reservations in the financial markets. This has stood the test of time immemorial. This is not to say that recessions result, rather quite the contrary, things tend to stay in the status quo. So the 2020 economic outlook is more or less the same which has been fairly strong of late.

Residential real estate however is a notable exception. Most residential real estate is individuals buying or selling their own private property. They are impacted by supply and demand as well as capital markets such as mortgage banking and construction finance, but residential buyers and sellers decisions are based on their personal needs and situation at that moment in time, elections be damned.

The outlook for real estate in SW Washington remains positive with 2020 quite likely to continue this trend of near neutral market conditions and modest year over year price growth. Sales volume has been rather brisk over the last 12 months almost as if the market were favoring sellers, yet the market favors neither sellers or buyers in a broad sense. Individual macro markets are all over the board with high end properties facing more buyer resistance and entry level properties still firmly in favor of sellers.

The trend over the last several months has been running between 650-750 closed transactions every month in Clark County, which is rather healthy. I think we may see a slow down in overall new construction in the single family homes market, but a continued build up of urban properties like apartment towers and condo towers downtown and on the urban corridors.

Expect interest rates to be relatively flat and sales to continue at a brisk pace. 2020 ought to be a strong year in real estate that should be positive for both buyers and sellers.

Happy New Year!