Analysis: Local real estate market 'outstanding' in 2012

Monday, January 28, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:10 p.m. CST, Monday, January 28, 2013

COLUMBIA — Sales of Boone County homes increased nearly 30 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to a report by Robert Wolverton, president of the R. Anthony Development Group. He characterized the residential real estate market in 2012 as "outstanding."


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Wolverton said he has been issuing an annual real estate analysis for the past 13 years. At first, the numbers were for his own personal use and forecasting, but friends, colleagues and others involved in real estate asked him to share his information, and he began distributing it more widely.

According to his Boone County Year End 2012 Real Estate Market Analysis:

  • Home sales were up — 1,615 single-family homes sold in the Columbia Public School District in 2012 compared to 1,251 in 2011.
  • Interest rates were down — the 30-year fixed mortgage was in the low to mid 3 percent range compared to 4 percent at the beginning of 2012.
  • The city issued 488 building permits for single-family homes by the end of November, up from 275 for the same period in 2011. This represents a 77 percent increase in the number of detached, single-family home building permits in 2012.
  • In the rental world, new student rental projects and the demand for single- family home rentals continued to increase. In his report, Wolverton said that clean, well-located and reasonably managed rental properties are full and rents are up. 

Wolverton credits four factors that may have increased sales.

  • School Redistricting: In 2012, Columbia Public Schools redrew school boundaries in conjunction with the opening of Battle High School, encouraging families to move into the new neighborhoods. Wolverton personally knew of at least six transactions that took place due to school considerations. 
  • Job Growth: IBM, Veterans United Home Loans and other major employers have seen significant growth in the number of jobs available in 2012. 
  • Fear: Wolverton said that major elections typically create uncertainty which decreases major purchasing decisions. But in 2012, Boone County seemed to experience the opposite impact. With interest rates at just below 4 percent, there seemed to be concern that rates would increase significantly. 
  • Unemployment was down to 4.8 percent in Boone County from 5.5 percent in 2011. 

Wolverton said the growth probably won't continue at the same pace into 2013 because as much as 15 to 20 percent of the single-family detached home sales in Boone County in 2012 were caused by school redistricting and fear that interest rates would increase significantly after the election. Also, there were homebuyers in 2012 who would have waited until 2013 or 2014 to buy but did so in 2012 due to historically low interest rates. 

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Richard Saunders January 28, 2013 | 11:11 a.m.

If interest rates ever come back up, DC goes bankrupt in short order, and it's game over.

So, Bernanke and his eventual successor will keep buying every Treasury on the market, further eroding our productive base which is wholly dependent upon true savings (rather than the current "solution" of adding even more debt which only funds unsustainable consumption).

In this environment, mortgage rates will likely only continue to go down (or remain flat), as interest rates move from being a market-based price for time, to a politically-based one, rhetorically postured as "promoting growth." Meanwhile over 90% of new mortgages are issued Fannie/Freddie/[other fedgov program here], because, for the majority of people, that's the only lender left. Systemic risk has overwhelmed the system.

Simply put: government can no longer afford its own debt-service costs, therefore, it destroys the entire monetary system we depend upon, all while calling the destruction a "bailout." As the pieces of this system are hollowed out, they are de facto nationalized in order to keep up the appearances of productive industry (autos, for instance).

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