"With the combination of historically low interest rates and outstanding selection in today's market, now is the time to buy," says Cathleen F. Smith, senior vice president for Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Tampa Bay.
Smith cited a recent article in the Bradenton Herald to emphasize her point.
Wayne Archer, director of the University of Florida's Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies, was quoted as saying, "If you're thinking of buying a house, there's probably not much to be gained by holding out at this point. It doesn't look like prices are going to fall anymore."
To that end, Smith says Coldwell Banker Realtors have been using an "energy" pricing strategy to help educate sellers about the impact inventory levels have on pricing.
"In a buyer's market, pricing is key," Smith says. "By pricing a home accordingly in a depreciating market you will create energy in the buyer pool for the home and ultimately create an appreciating market dynamic within a depreciating market," she says, adding that the company has seen energy pricing work throughout the state.
Frank Fage, a Coldwell Banker sales associate in St. Petersburg offered this example on how the strategy is helping consumers sell their homes.
"I listed a house last year at $410,000," he says. "Two contracts in the $370,000 range were declined and it was taken off the market. Life changed and the sellers had to sell quickly. We implemented the energy pricing strategy by reducing the asking price by 15 percent below the lowest priced comparable home on the market and within two weeks we had 13 showings and three offers.
"Because of our in-house mortgage affiliate, Sunbelt Lending Services, we were able to close the deal fast and exceed our customers' expectations."
"The results have been truly extraordinary as more of our listings are selling and more buyers are seeking out Coldwell Banker listings because they are priced to sell," Smith says.
Smith also maintains mortgage markets will calm in the coming months, citing Lawrence Yun, senior economist for the National Association of Realtors.
"The volume of existing-home sales this year will be better than 2002, which was the second year of the housing boom," says Yun on media.living.net, the Web site of the Florida Association of Realtors.
"Conventional loans - the vast majority of available financing - are available to creditworthy borrowers. Buyers in most areas who do their homework will recognize that housing remains a good long-term investment."
While adding that sales could be temporarily affected by recent mortgage industry disruptions, Yun thinks the "fundamental momentum clearly suggests stabilizing price trends in many local markets."
Smith thinks that availability of properties on the market has made it easier than ever before for buyers to find the right home. She says Coldwell Banker's professionals are the right choice for helping home buyers find the right home.
Florida real estate continues to offer great long-term value, Smith says.
"While we may not have the 30 percent annual appreciation homeowners enjoyed in the past, the market fundamentals are still very favorable for Tampa Bay real estate," Smith says.
Among the reasons Smith says she's still bullish on the real estate market is the strength of the local economy and historically low interest rates.
"With the outstanding selection that is available and pricing returning to more sustainable levels, I am confident that home buyers will begin to take advantage of this incredible opportunity," Smith says.
Demographic trends bode well for a rebound of the state's real estate industry.
Florida continues to be an attractive destination for domestic and international home buyers, with more 300,000 new residents opting to make Florida their home in 2006, according to Census Bureau estimates.
Plus, with more than 76 million baby-boomers planning to retire during the next decade, demand for housing will continue to escalate in the Sunshine State, Smith contends.
For information, call 1-800-624-5292 or visit www.floridamoves.com.