Sunday, September 25, 2011

Is This Real Estate Market Similar to 1991?

When I got into the Mortgage Business in January 1991 the real estate market in Eastern Pennsylvania had died. We had gone from a crazy frenzied high of 1988 to a low in only 3 years. The heightened craze was caused by in influx of people moving in from New Jersey and New York because we built a new major highway (I-78), which made commuting much easier. The less expensive housing prices were possible for these commuters. This time we had a much longer frenzied period of increasing prices topping out in 2007, this time hitting a low in 2010-2011. The main catalysts for this crazed market were the event of 911 and the completion of a connection between I-78 and Route 33. These are some similarities to our current situation.

There are some distinct differences between these two housing markets. I remember doing a mortgage for a couple in October 1991, who were moving into the Pocono Area from Seattle Washington. They had lived in Seattle for 9 months and made a 30% profit on their home before moving to our area. Another gentleman sold his house in Las Vegas in 2 days before moving into the Lehigh Valley. Three other buyers had sold their homes in Boston, Atlanta and Orlando, respectively with little or no trouble. They each had made significant money on their sales and experienced a prosperous housing market. There were pockets of areas throughout the country doing extremely well, while our area, and other parts of the United States were doing poorly.

Today, the entire United States is in a bad housing market. It seems that values are down significantly, with some areas (Detroit, Las Vegas, Florida, California) being hit harder than most. Most of these areas are dependent upon one major industry feeding their economy, such as the Auto Industry in Detroit. The one good thing for our region is that we don't seem to be hit as badly as some of these other areas, and this time our Corporate Diversity will keep our region from being as greatly affected as other parts of the U.S.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Why aren't more people buying homes?

Interest rates have officially reached an all time low of 3.75% for a fixed rate..Can you believe it? Why aren't more people buying homes? Home prices in most areas of the United States have dropped at least 25% from their all time high in 2007. Why aren't more people buying homes? Many economists have predicted that the housing market has bottomed or is near the bottom. This means that prices have fallen just about as far as they are going to fall, eventually beginning their rise, again. Why aren't more people buying homes?

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Every year the kids go back to school, and in recent years, leave for months at a time. I know the time is getting shorter when July heat and humidity gives in to August moderate temperatures. But after I enjoy the bittersweet Labor day holiday, the NFL starts. It doesn't take long to get over the end of summer and move on to the fall. I don't care if it rains, hails, thunders, or snows. Nothing can bother me on Sundays unless the cable goes out! So go ahead, I dare you to take my kids away from me, take the hot swim days away, I don't care! I have my football!

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Have you ever been to Camelbeach in Tannersville, the Great Wolf Lodge in Scotrun, or Wet and Wild in Orlando? What do these three water parks have in common? They all move the lines much faster than Wild Water Kingdom. On one particular ride at WWK they have a roped off gate at the top of the stairs which keeps you from entering the main deck. This deck is where several slides begin. Only after the riders are completely out of the water and safely outside of the exit does the attendant come over to unchain the rope and allow the next set of riders to walk up to the slide. This takes several moments, between the unlatching of the hook, the riders walking over to the slides unsure of which one to choose, looking over to the attendant to make sure that they are allowed to go down the slide, all of which is another 60 seconds or so. Meanwhile, the lines build and get longer and longer. This creates a logjam on every ride causing wait times of over 60 minutes on most rides. This is completely unnecessary as witnessed by attending these other water parks. The others use a system of waiting until each rider has crossed a midway point on the three slides. At this point they allow the next set of riders to get set at the beginning of each slide. Upon the safety of the last of the current riders exiting the pool, but not yet outside of the exit, the attendant allows the next set of riders to start their ride. This simple yet still safe way of moving the line saves dramatic total times and cuts the wait times in half. Boy, its amazing how making a simple and subtle change can dramatically make it more enjoyable for everyone. My advice is to avoid WWK and go to one of the other water parks. You will get much more of your money's worth!