A Gathering of Experts: When are most residential properties listed on the market?
Fred Wehba: We usually see a rise in home listings in the spring when weather warms up.
A Gathering of Experts: How is today’s real estate market as compared to the big bubble burst of 2007?
Fred Wehba: I think we’ve pretty well recovered, with some places even hitting record high prices.
A Gathering of Experts: Do you think we are being set up for disaster again?
Fred Wehba: In some areas, possibly. However, most cities have seen steady gains of around 5% per year which is sustainable.
A Gathering of Experts: Do lower mortgage rates encourage buyers?
Fred Wehba: Absolutely and possibly more than any other factor.
A Gathering of Experts: But these rates can change so quickly…
Fred Wehba: That’s true. My best advice would be to lock in your rate when it’s at a comfortable number.
A Gathering of Experts: What is the difference between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market?
Fred Wehba: A seller’s’ market means there are fewer homes and they are selling for more money. A buyers’ market is just the opposite.
A Gathering of Experts: What’s considered a healthy supply-to-demand ratio in the real estate market?
Fred Wehba: Specifically for residential, a six month supply is about right.
A Gathering of Experts: What sells faster, turnkey properties or those that need work?
Fred Wehba: Move in ready homes are more popular for buyers who want to live on their property.
A Gathering of Experts: Are investors still buying the fixer uppers?
Fred Wehba: Always.
A Gathering of Experts: Do higher prices tend to drive investors away?
Fred Wehba: Usually, yes. It’s very difficult to turn a profit if price points are too high.
A Gathering of Experts: It’s been said that it’s cheaper to buy a home than to rent. Is that true?
Fred Wehba: For the most part, yes. Rental homes are in demand, and that drives up price.
A Gathering of Experts: How much more affordable is it to buy?
Fred Wehba: Month-to-month it is literally about half the cost. Mortgage payments average 15% of a buyer’s income as opposed to 30% spent by renters.
A Gathering of Experts: Is credit still nearly impossible to obtain?
Fred Wehba: There are definitely more stringent requirements now, as opposed to before the economic collapse. However, many lenders are loosening up just a bit.
A Gathering of Experts: Are homes getting bigger?
Fred Wehba: Actually, no. Despite a steady economic recovery, the average new home size has dropped from around 2500 ft.² to around 2200 ft.².
A Gathering of Experts: Why do you think that is?
Fred Wehba: The new generation of homebuyer is more ecologically aware than their predecessors.
A Gathering of Experts: Does this affect home design?
Fred Wehba: Absolutely – it’s very difficult to sell a home now that isn’t outfitted with energy efficient appliances, windows, and plumbing.
A Gathering of Experts: Switching gears to commercial real estate. Are the supply levels consistent with residential?
Fred Wehba: Actually, commercial real estate is at an historic low.
A Gathering of Experts: Are investors still squeamish after all the losses the last few years?
Fred Wehba: Many are, yes, but some are hungry for risk.
A Gathering of Experts: Do you have any thoughts about how investors decide what in what area they want to spend?
Fred Wehba: That’s pretty simple, really. Investors follow jobs and people. The more an area is expanding, the more likely it is there will be a need for housing and commercial operations.