This is Beth Brockette with Brockette Homes and Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors. Just wanted to hop on. It’s been a little while since I’ve been on Facebook with an update. We were looking at last year’s year-end information in regard to real estate and the information that I have is for all of the MLS’s, that’s the database where the Real Estate agents keep all of the homes that are listed and sold and I’m talking about Eastern Iowa and the major communities. So, each one has what you would call a REALTOR® association that then manages and houses those MLS, multiple listing databases. So, it’s not just for Ruhl. This is for the region in general and interesting that last year average home sale price was about four or five percent. So some people were having some negative talk which you know, that sells papers and all that kind of stuff, or clicks and that kind of thing electronically and digitally, but there was an increase in the average price in almost all of the markets and so it wasn’t as much. And we talked about that, you know, it’s possible that appreciation would slow which it has and probably interest rates and things like that that can impact it but it hasn’t certainly dropped and again we haven’t seen specific things that will cause that. We still have fewer homes available for the number of buyers out there. You know, I think the sad part is that probably the person who is just close, they don’t have a ton to save and that market price is a little bit lower, I think it’s harder there for sure and I find that unfortunate and maybe over time things will help improve that, but it’s kind of where we’re at.

The other thing was just the volume of sales, in general, was down last year for all the markets. So any real estate company, anybody who’s members of these different real estate associations, all the brokerages on average were pretty much down, 15 to 20 percent in sales volume last year. So makes sense with kind of where things were at this past year.

We are very grateful. We had really a good year last year and you know so every agent isn’t impacted the same way. A lot of affect that. One, you know, showing up or telling yourself, you know, there’s still people to help makes a difference, and if you have a mindset that is telling you something different you probably get what you’re telling yourself. So, we are always open to helping whomever needs help and so, we just kind of stay on that and stay of value to people. Share value whether you’re buying a house or not buying a house. Anything we can help you with real estate as you know. I love everything real estate. So we try to continue to do that and stay in touch with people and help whomever is needing to make a change. And there’s all kinds of reasons why that happens and interest rates or raising prices don’t affect a lot of things, right? If you have a change in job or you have somebody who’s moving to assisted living, or if you have a family and you want to be closer to them, there’s many, many reasons why people are going to make a move whether it feels like exactly the right time or not. One thing I think is an interesting comment is Marry the house, date the interest rate, which while there are costs in changing interest rates, there’s a lot of things that make those costs worth it. So if you don’t particularly like the interest rate, which has been around 6% for a while, we see them kind of up, down, in little increments lately, but that really is not an average over time. So, it’s really not a bad rate. We just got very spoiled there fo a while, but again you can make a change and I think we all have to decide if we want to let an interest rate rule our happiness. If you’re happy where you’re at, that’s great. If you’re happy with your interest rate, that’s great, but if there’s something else you wanted to do, you know, life is short and hopefully we can help you try to figure out a way to make that happen.

Overall we are seeing about the same number of homes listed this time of year currently as we were last year, so that’s pretty much the same in the various regions. Overall everybody is still pretty much in a seller’s market. Now that will depend on the price range. You get four, five, $600,000 we’re seeing a little bit more balanced market. in the luxury range I would say we are probably more in a buyer’s market. And there was a while where all ranges were in a seller’s market. So that has changed. But anything under $400,000 in general is still – there are not enough homes for the buyers out there. Cedar Rapids is still in that area. We’re starting to get a little bit closer. They’ve got 3.8 months of inventory is how they kind of judge that. And six months of inventory would be considered balanced. So, you know, we’re close to four. That’s getting a little bit more. You’ll  see that you’re seeing more homes be on the market a little longer. You’re seeing more opportunities for open houses. So, I don’t think that’s surprise to anybody, but don’t jump to the conclusion that all of a sudden, we’re in a buyer’s market because that is not the case. Iowa City, interestingly enough, has been a balanced market for a while and this is kind of interesting. I’m not particularly sure. I know that they have people kind of coming and going with the University. If that fluidness that they have there causes that, maybe, I don’t know. But that market is the only one we have kind of in Eastern Iowa that is in a balanced market. Again,not a buyer’s market. We haven’t done that but people love to talk about the change in the market.. So it is a little different. It’s not as fast as it was, but it’s certainly important to talk to a real estate professional when you are thinking about buying or selling. We can help understand what the conditions are for the price range that you’re talking about and we can help you determine what to expect. If you were to put an offer in or if you’re selling your house, what to expect, what kind of activity, and just give you a whole lot more information and be well prepared. We are happy to do that for you. So I think we’re all maybe getting out of the freezer here coming up so maybe people are going to get a little more ready to make that happen. So we are here and ready for you whenever you are. Beth Brockette at Ruhl and Ruhl Realtors with the Brockette Homes Team.