REAL ESTATE MARKETING UPDATE

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1 From the Desk of Renee Carnes-Rook Vice President, Real Estate Services In the midst of unprecedented economic and market pressures, tight credit markets, difficult-to-obtain loans, and a cloudy employment picture, selling homes has become increasingly challenging. REAL Trends, Inc., a leading source of information on the real estate industry, indicated that prices for home sales nationally decreased 14.4 percent from December 2007 to December The number of closed sales units has declined by 26 percent in the last two years. Yet certain approaches are producing results, and they involve a very simple principle getting back to the basics. Cartus formula for unlocking sales has four primary, common-sense elements, and by applying them aggressively to fixed-fee properties under Cartus management, we ve reduced inventory levels by a resounding 27% over the past year. Our City Promotions program succeeded in reducing the number of inventory homes in nine major markets by 49% in just 30 days. First, price it right. Homes need to be priced to attract buyers. Home sellers should remember that, because of extra inventory, buyers may choose from a wide range of homes for sale. Sellers should also be ready to reprice their homes quickly if they do not generate immediate interest, and plan to reduce the price at least once every 30 days until the home is sold. For more information about how to improve home sales in your relocation program, contact us at Second, make it stand out. It is important to differentiate a home from others on the market. No-cost amenities such as access to public transportation, or home enhancements such as granite countertops, should be highlighted. Incentives such as home warranties, buyer s closing costs, or the free household goods shipment offered by Cartus, are a must to set the home apart from other listings. Third, put it into move-in condition. Homes for sale should be in pristine condition. Again, prospective buyers have a choice of a great many homes and will not bid on one that is not in move-in condition. Sellers should fix leaks, paint, and neutralize colors to ensure that the house has the best chance of selling. 1 Fourth, be fast, and be flexible. It is critical to demonstrate flexibility in moving all parties the broker and either the client or employee to a consensus through compromise and to make quick decisions on offers. A buyer who walks away may not be replaced quickly Cartus Corporation. All rights reserved. Cartus and the Cartus logo are pending or registered trademarks of Cartus Corporation.

2 Below are several leading indicator charts from industry sources that give a bird's eye view of the national market. Fourth-Quarter Price Change by State: FHFA HPI (Uses Purchase Prices and Appraisal Valuation) Source: Federal Housing Finance Agency Inventory by Months Supply 2

3 S&P/Case-Shiller Indices Foreclosures by State 䄀 䬀 一 䠀 䴀 䔀 圀 䄀 䴀 吀 一 䐀 䴀 一 嘀 吀 䴀 䄀 䴀 䄀 匀 琀 愀 琀 攀 猀 眀 椀 琀 栀 昀 漀 爀 攀 挀 氀 漀 猀 甀 爀 攀 愀 挀 琀 椀 瘀 椀 琀 礀 愀 洀 漀 渀 最 琀 栀 攀 渀 愀 琀 椀 漀 渀 ' 猀 栀 椀 最 栀 攀 猀 琀 䤀 渀 搀 椀 挀 愀 琀 攀 猀 挀 栀 愀 渀 最 攀 昀 爀 漀 洀 㜀 䠀 䤀 伀 刀 䌀 䄀 一 嘀 㘀 Source: RealtyTrac 䤀 䐀 唀 吀 䄀 娀 アハ ート 圀 夀 䌀 伀 㠀 一 䴀 匀 䐀 一 䔀 䬀 匀 吀 堀 伀 䬀 䤀 䄀 䴀 伀 䄀 刀 䰀 䄀 圀 䤀 䤀 䰀 㔀 㔀 䴀 䤀 䤀 一 䴀 匀 吀 一 伀 䠀 ⴀ 㘀 䬀 夀 䄀 䰀 倀 䄀 一 夀 圀 嘀 䜀 䄀 㐀 㐀 䌀 吀 一 䨀 匀 䌀 䴀 䐀 嘀 䄀 一 䌀 刀 䤀 䘀 䰀 アハ ートアハ ート 䐀 䔀 䐀 䌀 2008 foreclosures up 81% from 2007, up 225% compared with ,157,806 foreclosure filings in 2008 National forecast: 1 in every 54 households received foreclosure filings in 2008 December 2008 up 41% from December

4 Atlanta Inventory (Q3 2008) Baltimore Inventory (Q3 2008) $1,000,001+ Inventory Profiles of Key Markets Estimated Months of Inventory Baltimore Inventory (Q3 2008) ATLANTA, GEORGIA For the last decade, Metro Atlanta had some of the fastest growing counties, so new construction paved the way for many jobs. In December 2008, Georgia's unemployment rate climbed to 8.1%, up 80% in the past year; 82,000 jobs were lost during that time. The in-migration Atlanta counted on for so many years has slowed dramatically, since companies can hire top local talent for much less money. Metro Atlanta continues to have record numbers of short sales and foreclosures, creating a market that continues to decline. Foreclosures now make up approximately 20% of sales; the next few months may be even worse. Many in the buyer pool are just watching, anticipating that the market will continue to decline. Annual closings in 2008 were lower than in any year since The average selling price was also down: 15.4% for single-family, detached homes and 22.5% for condo/townhomes compared to December Days-on-market went up significantly in 2008 but trended downward in the last quarter to 95.0 (compared to 88.3 in 2007). Inventory is down, but sellers may be waiting for the spring market before they list. Monthly resales are expected to increase year over year beginning at the end of Q2, with new construction beginning to rebound by the end of the year. 1-year price appreciation (2008 Q4): -21.4% (Total for US: -7.0%) State existing home sales (2008 Q4): -9.9% (Total for US: -16.4%) $1,000, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND The Baltimore market is currently experiencing a seasonal slowdown, coupled with a marketplace slowdown. 12 Prices have been declining throughout Estimated Months of Inventory the area primarily because of high inventory but also due to the increase in Estimated Months of of Inventory short sales and foreclosures. The negative press about the housing market and the economy continues to weigh on people s psyches. A general deterioration has been occurring in the upper price brackets of the market due to a large spread between confirming and non-confirming rates. $1,000, In general, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are averaging around 5%, and jumbos are still more than 7%. Lenders are still requiring additional funds for down payments. Additional funds are often unavailable to first-time 4

5 Cleveland Inventory (Q3 2008) homebuyers, who were the lifeblood of the lower price ranges. 1-year price appreciation (2008 Q4): -5.5% (Total for US: -7.0%) State existing home sales (2008 Q4): -14.6% (Total for US: -16.4%) $500, Estimated Months of of Inventory CLEVELAND, OHIO Ohio s December 2008 unemployment rate rose to 7.8% (from 7.3% in November), a 22-year high and.6% higher than the national average. Foreclosures, high inventory, outgoing migration, job losses, and the collapsed financial markets continue to affect real estate markets in northern Ohio, which includes the Cleveland area. New and existing home and condo sales, combined, rose about 1% in December compared to December Single-family home sales increased 4.9%, while condominiums sales dropped 28%. The average home price dropped 24% in December to $117,620 (from $155,325 in December 2007), the lowest average price in this decade. Average condo prices were more stable, dropping only 11% to 123, year price appreciation (2008 Q4): -25.5% (Total for US: -7.0%) State existing home sales (2008 Q4): -7.6% (Total for US: -16.4%) LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA Los Angeles County continues to experience high foreclosure and REO inventory levels. Active listings have decreased approximately 19% from the same period last year, but more than 40,000 properties are currently listed for sale. Selling prices continue to decline throughout the county. Properties must be in top condition to attract conventional buyers. Sellers should be prepared to be asked for sales concessions (e.g., closing cost/repair credits) and be willing to compete with REO/short-sale listings, particularly in the San Fernando Valley area of the county. 1-year price appreciation (2008 Q4): -31.4% (Total for US: -7.0%) State existing home sales (2008 Q4): 84.7% (Total for US: -16.4%) MIAMI, FLORIDA Job losses have been severe and are unlikely to have peaked. Florida has been hit particularly hard compared with other states, with more than 200,000 jobs lost in the past year. With unemployment at 7.3%, it will be six months or more before consumer confidence improves considerably. Among the state s large- to medium-size markets, a total of 453 homes sold in October 2008 compared to 367 homes in October 2007, a 23% increase. The number of existing homes sold in October 2008 increased 23% over 5

6 the year before, but the median sales price decreased 30%. Condo sales were basically unchanged, yet prices decreased an average 26%. Interest rates are low, but it is harder to qualify for a mortgage, as underwriting guidelines have become very strict. Many PMI companies will not insure condos in the state of Florida. And given the number of condo foreclosures, building management often cannot afford to maintain common areas. 1-year price appreciation (2008 Q4): -32.3% (Total for US: -7.0%) State existing home sales (2008 Q4): 12.5% (Total for US: -16.4%) NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA Leasing activity in New Orleans is at the highest level in five years. Single-family homes in all price ranges are being leased in all areas of the city with terms of one to five years. Some new tenants have not sold their homes in other areas; others are in the city on a three- to five-year government contract and do not want to buy. In the first three weeks of 2009, about 600 foreclosures occurred throughout the state of Louisiana; the New Orleans market is beginning to see some short sales. Sellers continue to offer incentives, such as help with closing-cost payments and/or discount points, rather than lowering the selling price. New construction continues but at a much slower pace than in Builders have turned to alternative forms of financing: bond for deed, lease purchase, and lease with option. 1-year price appreciation (2008 Q4): -2.1% (Total for US: -7.0%) State existing home sales (2008 Q4): -29.1% (Total for US: -16.4%) NEW YORK, NEW YORK In Q4 2008, 40% fewer properties were sold in New York City compared to the same quarter in Financial sector cutbacks, layoffs, and general uncertainty have dramatically impacted the high end of the market in New York City. Due to evaporated liquidity, sellers have been compelled to lower prices. That is reflected in a 4% reduction in the median sales price in Q One-bedroom apartments were the only market segment that saw a modest gain in that quarter. Price reductions are expected to continue. 1-year price appreciation (2008 Q4): -14.6% (Total for US: -7.0%) State existing home sales (2008 Q4): -15.2% (Total for US: -16.4%) ORLANDO, FLORIDA Home sales in Orlando were down 11.97% in 2008 compared to 2007; 14,740 homes sold in 2008 compared to 16,744 the previous year. Condo sales fell 32.04%, with 1,436 condos sold in all of 2008 compared to 2,113 in all of

7 Phoenix Inventory (Q3 2008) $1,000,001 2,000,000 $2,000,001+ With approximately 40% of the transactions in Orlando involving foreclosures or short sales, homes sold at a discount continue to pull down the median price. The median sales price fell 18.27% in 2008 compared to Of the single-family homes that changed hands each month throughout 2008, 20.79% sold in the $200,000-$250,000 price range; 13.93% of condos sold were in the $100,000-$120,000 category. Buyers are holding back due to current economic conditions and company cutbacks. They are also expecting prices to decline even more, as appraisers are including foreclosures and short sales in their reports. Nevertheless, the median sales price in December 2008 was $169,900, a 2.35% increase over November Still, that was 24.49% below the December 2007 median sales price of $225, year price appreciation (2008 Q4): -27.1% (Total for US: -7.0%) State existing home sales (2008 Q4): 12.5% (Total for US: -16.4%) PHOENIX, ARIZONA The Greater Phoenix market is experiencing increased buyer activity since the first of the year, which is likely fueled by winter visitor activity in the marketplace The market has seen a slowdown of new 28.1 foreclosure properties coming onto the 47.4 market, although that may be a backlog Estimated Months of of Inventory from a moratorium on foreclosures. If so, there could be a flood of foreclosed properties on the market in the first quarter. Foreclosures and short sales continue to represent 70% of the current listing and sales activity. The buyer perception appears to be that foreclosures represent a good deal, and owner-occupant buyers are competing with cash investors for the properties. Short-sale response to offers, however, continues to be very slow. Phoenix is a strong buyer s market and, as a consequence, is difficult for sellers. Smart pricing is the most important factor in selling a home, along with being ahead of the monthly declining values. Buyers must be patient; the response to an offer on a foreclosure or short-sale property may take a considerable amount of time. 1-year price appreciation (2008 Q4): -35.5% (Total for US: -7.0%) State existing home sales (2008 Q4): 42.6% (Total for US: -16.4%) 7

8 Washington Inventory (Q3 2008) $1,000,001 2,000,000 $2,000, Estimated Months of of Inventory Source: Source: Relocation Relocation Appraisers Appraisers and and Consultants Consultants (RAC) WASHINGTON, D.C. Inside the beltway, the housing sector in the DC Metro area has remained strong. Sellers are speculating that the change of administration and development of new government programs will result in an influx of buyers to the local markets. Farther outside the Beltway, bank foreclosures and short sales continue to affect the price and length of time on the market. Inventory in the distressed market has decreased and continues to be absorbed by buyers who recognize the opportunity to purchase homes at a valued discount. 1-year price appreciation (2008 Q4): -26.2% (Total for US: -7.0%) State existing home sales (2008 Q4): -15.0% (Total for US: -16.4%) More on the Market For more information on the real estate market and tools for successfully navigating through it, please go to Versus same quarter, year ago. Source: National Association of Realtors Cartus Corporation. All rights reserved. 8 Cartus and the Cartus logo are pending or registered trademarks of Cartus Corporation.

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