Good Time For Real Estate
Wednesday - February 06, 2008
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Steve De La Pena
By Steve De La Pena
Oahu Vice President of Operations of Century 21 All Islands
As we enter February 2008, buffeted by wind and rain interspersed with glimmers of sunshine through the clouds, it is as if the unsettled Oahu weather is doing its best to reflect the U.S. economy in general and the Oahu real estate market in particular.
To recap, in 2007 Mainland real estate hit a wall and has been slowly sliding down that wall ever since. The sub-prime debacle and subsequent financial meltdown applied grease and accelerated the skid. The dollar has hit that same wall with the same result. We certainly want to take these facts into account when looking at the real estate market on Oahu. However, it is also a disservice to inflate or exaggerate problems.
Real estate has been my profession for 27 years. I started in 1981, with interest rates at 18 percent, and I’ve learned to view the oscillations of the market as opportunities, not disasters. As a company, our volume for 2007 was 12 percent greater than 2006. It is all about attitude, application and opportunity. That is how I approach this business, and it is how we train our agents. And right now I believe the opportunities are tremendous for all players: buyers, sellers, investors and agents.
Some people may want to sit on the sidelines waiting for the market to bottom. However, the “bottom” of any market is notoriously hard to identify. The real estate market on Oahu has already made its adjustment. Over the last three quarters, prices have remained remarkably stable.
More importantly, this is nothing like the bust markets of 1981 or 1991. Interest rates are once again near historical lows. The economy, while stumbling, is not in a full recession. Inflation is not a problem, and the two-headed beast, Stagflation, is nowhere on the horizon. Additionally, as interest rates fall and the dollar weakens, international buyers and sellers play a bigger role in our market. Century 21 All Islands, as part of a truly global company with 8,400 offices in 56 countries, is uniquely situated to take advantage of this. Just last month we were in the Philippines building relation- ships with the major developers to enhance the flow of buyers and sellers between our countries.
Whatever stage the market is in, our agents will continue to offer the same high-quality service. The first step is to provide accurate, up-to-date information so clients can identify where they stand in relation to the market. The next is to assist the client in establishing a plan, to set a course designed to best navigate the rapidly changing seas ahead. While I feel strongly that opportunities are tremendous right now, this is not to say that the course will be straight or easy. Global economic winds are blowing hard and changing direction daily. But some courses of action are better than others, and some pilots/agents are more able navigators than others. Our job - Century 21 All Islands’ commitment to you - is to get you to your safe real estate harbor.
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