Well, we did it. If you’re reading this, you survived 2008. High five. 2008, you’re dead to us. There were times that I didn’t think we were going to make it. Now onto the business at hand, the business of making 2009 better than 2008. For me, it won’t be hard to do. This year was a tough one. I came up short on countless deals that should have been put together, and missed out on a couple of large lakefront sales that would have made 2008 a year to remember for all the right reasons. I did a number on a L5/S1 disc, and lugged a round a numb left foot for the past 6 months as a result. Yes, I survived, but it wasn’t like it was a blow out. Lake Geneva cleaned itself up by ridding the city of one failed business, life destroying vagrant. Fontana put on quite a show with it’s new and improved lakefront, roads, parks, and boulevards. Williams Bay? Well, Williams Bay hid behind its lakefront weeds, but it’s still a nice little Village in my book. My kids grew and remained healthy and happy, and I packed on about 15 lbs as a result of the numb leg hindrance. Nice work, David.
It was a good year for real estate in Lake Geneva. Markets bent, but they didn’t break. Inventory grew, but it didn’t bloat out of control. Foreclosures were visible for the first time in decades, yet there weren’t enough of them to negatively impact neighborhoods with their unoccupied bank owned blight. It wasn’t a bad year for housing, it’s just that the volume was painfully low. Volume is what Realtors need to survive. Volume is what a homeowner needs to turn her equity into tangible money. Volume is the key to recovery, and I think it will return by the time I’m writing the 2009 review next year. A key to all of this is Dow 10,000. I’ll write more as to why in a later post, but Dow 10,000 is an important catalyst in our housing recovery for 2009.
Here it is, my watered down 2009 housing prediction. I think the first quarter of 2009 is going to be terrible. It seems that buyers are afraid to buy, even though the best time for them to negotiate a deal is in the winter. They’ll sit on the sidelines while some of the lowest interest rates known to man pass them by. Hopefully they won’t all wait, but enough of them will outsmart the market (and themselves) and wait until Summer to make their move. I think once they do, we’ll see increased volume from 2008, and I think pricing will stabilize in all segments of this market. Foreclosures will rise in a few select developments (email me and I’ll tell you which ones), but foreclosures as a whole will decline quarter over quarter after the first quarter of 2009. If interest rates hold in the 5% range for most of the year, I see no reason we can’t push a volume increase in 2009. Stable valuations will continue, though there will be a few more firesales out there in 2009 as some owners will undoubtedly suffer job losses and relocations. If you want in on these deals, let’s start working together. I’ll vaccum my car.
Here’s to a terrific 2009. Let’s make it better than 2008, and keep our noses to the grindstone. Lord knows I’m working harder than I ever have in my life, and for considerably fewer dollars. I’m primed for a great 2009, and I hope you’ll help me make that a reality. I just need one shot, and I’ll prove my worth to you. I need your business, and in 2009, I’m not going to be afraid to beg for it. I feel like I really found my voice in real estate this year, and since it was my 12th full year in the business, it’s about time. The problem is that I need customers to be successful. I can be as intelligent and articulate as possible, and be the best Realtor ever, but it means nothing if I don’t have clients to work for. I have big plans for the new year, and I simply can’t accomplish them without your help. Look out 2009, we’re a little poorer, a little angrier, a lot smarter, and so help me, if you think for one second that you’re going to treat us like 2008 did, you’re in for the battle of your lifetime.