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The Real e-State: What's smelling wonderful?

What’s that smell wafting in the air? Could it be the scent of cinnamon, cedar, cookies or pies? Or is it change that’s in the air for you? Do the holidays have you reconsidering a change in home ownership?

Over the past few years consumer confidence has been down. People, in many cases, went from thrive to survive. New businesses slowed, layoffs and downsizing occurred in much higher than normal rates, and the financial markets tanked worldwide.

In real estate, home prices took a substantial dive. Homes that once sold for $600,000 were suddenly worth $350,000. Many people who did cash out refinances or bought property from 2003 to 2007 found themselves stressed to make their payments or didn’t make them all together. It was difficult for people to justify paying a mortgage that was almost double of what their property was currently worth. Options for many had become limited.

A problem of this magnitude never has one solution and has received help from many places coming at it from many angles. Local, state and federal governments stepped in. It has been working.

In real estate, we are now seeing record low interest rates, faster short sales, lenders lending to people again just two years after doing a short sale. Prices in many areas of San Diego have continued to appreciate over the past year. Consumer confidence is much higher.

I’ve had to wait in line twice in the past week, while groups of agents and their clients awaited access to a new listing. My last listing sold in six days. Many properties are off the market within a week or two.

This is not true yet in all price ranges, however. I am seeing this in the “first-time home buyer” range, priced up to about $500,000. So the demand is definitely back. The “move up market,” 500k to about 750k, and the “luxury market” are the next markets to watch. It’s really more of a trickle-up effect here, when the people with the less expensive homes are able to sell they can then buy the more expensive homes. This is great news for sellers and having more sellers would be welcome news to those out there trying to buy right now.

With the appreciating values, potential buyers who couldn't refinance a few years ago may find themselves able to refinance now.

Home owners with equity who were waiting to sell until the market improved may want to ask your Realtor to run the comps and give you a current price on your property. We would be happy to do that for you.

Take a deep breath and smell .... yup, that is cinnamon, cedar, cookies, pies -- and change too! The question is, are you a part of that change?

Realtor Bo Bortner offers his sound advice and personal knowledge of the industry as a successful agent with Team Metro Real Estate. He is well-versed in Hillcrest, North Park, University Heights, Mission Hills, Golden Hill and downtown, but his clients come from all over. He gives back to the community through his involvement with Mama's Kitchen, The Trevor Project and University Christian Church. He can be reached at (619) 840-2981 or online at his website.