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President’s Corner Wishes and goals for the new year in real estate

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Kerry Suess

Posted: Friday, December 30, 2011 12:00 am

Happy New Years to you all. We have survived another overall very difficult year in the general economy and specifically in the housing market. However, I must say that it has been an honor to write this column for you every week. It has also been a challenge to select topics for the discussion that are appropriate for the current events of the day.

The problem stems in part because there was so much to choose from. There is no one issue in real estate today that needs to be overcome. There are many. I know that with all that’s happening in society right now that it could be easy to lose sight of the things that really matter and that is the plight that many people are going through.

I have heard many stories this year of individual family’s trials. From people who became used to receiving sales bonuses year after year, but no longer and they are struggling to make ends meet. Others who no longer have overtime shifts due to lack of production where they work and many others who have just lost their job and can’t find another one that pays nearly what they were used too if at all. There were others who tried to modify their existing loans and after months of promises ended up being foreclosed on. There are so many sad stories. We all know someone who has been affected.

We have a new year ahead and hopefully we can find encouragement for our situations and compassion for other who are still going through times of trouble. One thing I have tried to do this year is to make sure that you all understand that there is no shame in struggling. It doesn’t necessarily mean you did anything wrong. Sure we could all do better and will. If you are suffering, reach out and share your situation with someone. There are people and programs available to help many of you. Don’t sit at home alone and despair. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Dean Calbreath from SIGNON San Diego Business recently wrote that California may finally have turned the corner into recovery, with the job market slated for slow but steady growth over the next two years, according to a report released by UCLA’s Anderson Forecast. “Have we turned the corner in the Golden State? Perhaps we have,” wrote UCLA senior economist Jerry Nickelsburg. “The last two months have yielded both job growth in excess of the U.S. rate and job growth which is widespread throughout the state.” It was the second time in days that a Southern California think tank has predicted increased job growth in the state. It all starts with jobs and consumer confidence. Recovery is a process.

Diana Olick, CNBC Real Estate Reporter wrote that despite a seasonal slowdown in overall foreclosure activity, the U.S real estate market is about to be hit by another surge of bank repossessions, according to a new report from online foreclosure site, RealtyTrac. As banks resubmit millions of documents, the backlog of over four million delinquent loans will start surging through the pipeline again. “November’s numbers suggest a new set of incoming foreclosure waves, many of which may roll into the market as REOs [bank repossessions] or short sales sometime early next year,” said James Saccacio, co-founder of RealtyTrac.

Nine out of the nation’s 10 highest foreclosure rates among metropolitan areas with a population of 200,000 or more were in California, according to RealtyTrac, with just Las Vegas making its way into the number six spot. That will mean more distressed properties surging into an already troubled housing market. Overall inventories of homes for sale have been dropping somewhat steadily over the past year. The hope is that there are enough investors at the ready to buy these properties quickly, as they seek to take advantage of a growing rental market. Government agencies are considering a plan to sell repossessed homes from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in bulk to investors. Bank of America is setting a plan in motion to sell its repossessed homes to investors, who would then rent them back to the original borrowers. Both government and the private sector know that until the backlog of distressed properties is cleared, the housing market will have little chance of regaining a solid footing.

I would prefer to see these properties sold to you individuals for your personal residence or as an investment. If we aren’t careful all these distressed homes will be owned by large investors and we will all be renting. Be sure and set goals for this next year. Mine include improving my credit scores, saving more money, reducing my energy bills and buying more property. I wish you all the best in your endeavors, health and prosperity to you. Never forget where you came from and don’t forget to share. Thank you.

Questions and comments can be made to Kerry Suess at