MagazineLife.net is a big, fat rip-off site (and Ask the Broker)

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(Editor’s Note: Thanks to some quick action and a few nasty-grams on the part of many, including the Phoenix Real Estate Guy, the spam site in question is no longer in business. Hah! Take that! Unfortuntately, it is just a matter of time before an ugly cousin reappears online trying to make a buck for doing nothing.)

If you are reading this article on MagazineLife.net, then be aware that it is content which the hosts of this blog have stolen from another site (“stolen” as in “copied without permission”). In fact all of the content you see here was stolen from other blogs presumably to populate this site for the personal gain of the hosts of MagazineLife.net.

Maybe they will sell my posts back to me for a referral fee.

Greg Swann from the Bloodhound Blog  (you can also find him on MagazineLife.net) this morning alerted me and others whose writing was hijacked to this, yet another Splog. Good grief. I should feel honored to have my little blog’s pockets picked, but instead I feel the sudden need to take a shower.

So begins 2008.

Stats-Man Steve is busying himself with the year-end housing numbers, which we will be bringing you shortly. One thing I can tell you with certainty, even without benefit of Steve’s hard numbers, is that the housing market tied one on through the middle of 2005, and we are still feeling the effects of the hang-over. Sales continue to take longer, and prices continue to retreat.

That’s the advantage of having done this for a few years. Had this been my first year in real estate, I would be sharing the joyous news that we are turning the corner. I would think this to be true because my Trulia “Featured Listings” map on the sidebar is now empty save one, sluggish short-sale (sluggish because, as is so often the way in short-sale land, the bank is moving at the speed of a dream sequence in a B movie). In late November, this same widget was standing room only and taking numbers for our selling clients’ homes.

But, we have seen it before. We see it every December, in fact. I won’t attempt to explain why it is, but it just is. Each year-end seems to bring a little flurry of buying activity, and at least our own inventory seems to get snatched up like the last bathrobe at the pre-Christmas sale.

So, based on my experience of the past decade, I will predict what will happen next. Within the next week, we will begin to see more new homes offered for sale. It will begin as a trickle, homes previously canceled or expired, and homes of sellers having been poised and waiting until they got through the seasonal madness. In February, we will see more new offerings yet from the “Spring is the best time to sell” contingent. The only real question remaining is, when will the buyers come out of hibernation?

I received this Ask the Broker question this week:

I am a broker who owns rental property in San Diego. No one wants to catch a falling knife. How do I know when San Diego real estate hits bottom? Many blogger readers would love to buy at the very lowest price.

I would venture a guess that all people, blogger readers or otherwise, would love to buy at the very lowest price. My opinion, and I think this is fairly defensible, is that we will know when the real estate market “hits bottom” after it has hit bottom and not a moment before.

As I quoted in my last post, the National Association of Realtors, who has a track record, and for obvious reasons, of being distortedly optimistic always, says that 2008 market activity should mirror that of 2007. Based on nothing more than this, it is reasonable to assume that we haven’t yet seen the bottom. The more popular theory, and one I subscribe to, is that 2008 prices will continue to decline and that some pricing stability should start to materialize in 2009. This should not suggest that, once prices do begin to stabilize, we will immediately reverse course and return to the years of double-digit appreciation. Our turn of the corner will likely be a more deliberate and slow maneuver.

Does this mean it is a crummy time to purchase a property? If your goal is to flip it in six months to a year for a profit, yes indeedy. If your goal is to stay awhile, then it is a different story entirely. The one thing I can say with certainty is that, whatever your goal, now is a much better time to buy in San Diego than it was this time last year. Next year, prices may be lower. Or they may not be. Only once we start seeing prices climbing again will we know that we have reached the low point in this cycle.

If you would like to read more about this, go to MagazineLife.net. I hear they will be posting a very similar article on the topic soon, but you might find it redundant.

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