Well, all the very best to everybody in the coming year. We wish you health, happiness and prosperity.......

I wish our Century 21 Northern Realty team had a crystal ball - then we could share with everybody what's going to happen in the next year to our local economic environment in general and the housing prices specifically. But we don't - have a crystal ball, that is! What we do have is stats and records from previous years, which is the next best thing. And in that regard, I have some pretty good news!

We are seeing a lot more activity in our local real estate market this winter over last. In fact, the last quarter of 2010 was hopping in comparison. Even over the Christmas season there were people house shopping, and the New Year appears to be following this trend. That is super news for sellers - they've kind of had to cater to the buyers the past couple of years, whereas the few years prior to that it was the other way around.

Potential buyers had kept their eyes on the fluctuating (but incredible) interest rates as closely as they kept their eye on the dropping asking prices of the homes they were considering making an offer on. They were playing 'who's gonna blink first' with the real estate market, waiting it out until they felt they could pay the lowest price possible for their new home, and nobody can blame them - it was just a buyer's market, that's all.

What we've found in the past couple of months is the buyers out there are reacting quicker due to the optimistic economic climate in our area. This new buying trend started last spring, actually, and has continued up to the present.

So in the past 5 years or so we've watched the roller-coaster go from a smokin' seller's market to a real buyer's market to today - a somewhat more even ratio between the number of homes on the market to the number of buyers who are looking to purchase a new property - and for us experienced realtors, it is a very welcome market trend indeed!

It's fair for everybody. The buyers out there don't have to feel rushed in to buying a home for fear of missing out and paying more later for a home they really wouldn't buy in the first place under normal circumstances, and the sellers aren't put in to the stresful position of trying to negotiate multiple offers - which sounds super at the time - only to lose everybody at the end of the day. Or worse yet, rush in to an offer and have the timing not worked out on the other end for their next home - when they are forced to jump from the proverbial frying pan right in to the 'buyer fire' anyway!

No, a nice even market where the interest rates are decent, the buyer to seller ratio is comparable and everybody can actually think things through before they rush in to the biggest investment of their lives is so much more preferable to the chaos of the boom and bust years. Believe me, I know. I've experienced both and everything in between over the past 20 years selling real estate in our community.

So overall, things are good. The town's abuzz, everybody seems busy - certainly busier than last year at this time, and there's a real optimistic feeling out there. People are smiling more and starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. I think we're all starting to think that  things are finally getting back to normal.

Or at least, normal in our little corner of the world. And that's always been a pretty good place to call home!

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