Housing market looks for upswing in 2009

Posted January 1, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— After a rough year, many in the real estate industry are hoping for an upswing in 2009.

“There is a lot of hope out there that we’ve had the worst of it,” said Suzanne Harris, the vice president for government affairs of the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County. “Definitely there will be some lingering, but the hope is that we will start feeling the upswing soon.”

Former Raleigh mayor and Triangle real estate mogul Smedes York thinks that by mid-year, “We’ll start having a much stronger feeling about the market.”

York, operator of York Properties, recently merged his firm York Simpson Underwood brokerage with Prudential Carolinas Realty, which is owned by billionaire Warren Buffett’s HomeServices America.

“We think we’ll be in a good position,” York said.

Real estate industry Will the real estate industry improve in 2009?

York said economic stimulus projects that are being pushed forward and the current low interest rates will help stave off some foreclosures. He thinks it is possible to start seeing a turnaround in six to eight months.

Many developers and builders in Wake County are struggling just to pay the 2008 tax bills that are due Monday, however. The developers still hold title to scores of homes and lots they had planned to sell in 2008, making them the taxpayers.

North Carolina State University economist Mike Walden has seen “glimmers of hope” in the economy, but he said improvements will hinge on the job market.

“I don’t see the job market improving appreciably this year, and I think that’s really going to weigh down a lot of consumers buying decisions,” Walden said.

For consumers who have a secure job and good finances, Walden said this would be a good year to make big ticket purchases like a house or car.

When there is a rebound, it will be stronger in the Triangle because this region is one of the strongest growth areas of the country, Walden said.


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  • KCfromNC Jan 2, 2009

    The theory - all that matters is the ratio of values between various houses in an area for property tax assessments. The goal is to spread the tax burden fairly among home owners. So if everyone's house value goes up or down roughly the same amount, people are still paying their "fair" share.

    Basically, if your house is worth twice as much as your neighbor's, you pay twice as much taxes. If both of your houses drop in value, but yours is still twice as expensive, you still pay twice as much as them, and it works out.

    You could adjust everyone's house value down, but then the county would just up the rate for everyone, and things would end up back where they started (after a lot of extra work) - you paying double the taxes as your neighbor.

    As some areas appreciate more than others, the county does a reassessment to get the ratios back in line with reality again.

    That's the theory, anyway. Don't shoot the messenger.

    And I agree, the article smells of fear and desperation.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Jan 2, 2009

    Gatsby, as soon as you can define what the EXACT minimum someone would NEED to live, and give me proof that in NO WAY you exceed that amount, then I'll give you credit, otherwise you're just another hypocrit.....I'll bet on that!

    BTW...the housing market will take 3 more years to turn around!

  • wrx44 Jan 2, 2009

    Gee...maybe if the real estate agents lower their commissions from a crazy 6% to 4%, and builders only expect 25% margin on their homes instead of 45%, and developers try not to expect 100% profit in one year from a land purchase....maybe then...more people would buy!

    The greed of all those parties has contributed to the overbuilt and slow situation the industry is in now.

    If anyone is looking at a house these days....offer at least 15% less then what they are least.

    The sellers and builders don't have a leg to stand on. They are DESPERATE.

  • batcave Jan 2, 2009

    Greed drives the free market system, and what we have now is the down side of greed. But , if someone out there can tell me why property taxes don't drop, when value drops, I mean I really want to know, cuz I don't get it, based on my limited knowledge.

  • foetine Jan 2, 2009

    Does this mean Smedes has backed off his desire to snag the Dix property from Raleigh with his blue ribbon multi-use plan?

  • nerdlywehunt Jan 2, 2009

    I "think" is NOT the basis for a news report spinning a private business! I know that my sales attempts are a low ballers field day. How about some good questions for these spinners like how many extra sales agents are you bringing on board to handle teh extra business?

  • batcave Jan 2, 2009

    The Yorks are smart people, if you have lived in Raleigh long enough you know this.

  • jsj501 Jan 2, 2009

    The reality, colliedave, is that the "market value" we are being taxed on is way above the amount a true homeowner (not a developer or house flipper trying to manipulate the system) could sell his or her house for.

  • Gatsby Jan 2, 2009

    greed (grd)
    An excessive desire to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth:

    *Sound like anyone you know NCcarguy? Looks like a nerve has been struck. You are right about me by the way...I give to others who are in need and try and make the world a better place to live for the majority...not just ME.I dont want to join the greedy (One of the 7 deadly sins by the way)...They are a nasty bunch.

  • colliedave Jan 2, 2009

    when is Wake County going to bring property tax values back down to reality?

    You must not have a strong grip on reality b/c Wake County Government does not affect propery values. They tax us according to market values; and the market is based on demand.
    Feelings, on the other hand, are based on emotions which are largely media-driven.