I think the number one question we’ve heard over the past few years is “When will the market hit bottom?”
And our answer is always that one person’s guess is as good as another’s.
We understand that some buyers have been waiting… hoping to time the market just right and buy at the very bottom. Of course, the problem is that no one knows where the bottom is until it as started going back up again….
So, What can we say about the fickle economic forces that have been driving the real estate market?
Markets that were among the healthiest six months ago are now in decline and have been replaced by a few unexpected markets that have worked through their job losses and foreclosures effectively. Jacksonville seems to be one of them.
A lot has happened in the housing market during this year. We saw a double-dip in home prices… Only a small improvement in employment occurred on a national basis…. And the long-anticipated housing recovery, which most housing economists pegged for late this year, hasn’t materialized.
Rising home prices, job gains, and improvement in median incomes are going to drive the healthiest markets over the next 12 to 18 months.
Moody’s predicts that markets that benefit from military spending, or major universities, will be at the top of the recovery. Some markets hit the trifecta with military bases, big universities, and strong private sector employment.
Recently, Home Builder online and Moody’s compiled a list of the 20 healthiest housing markets through 2012 and Jacksonville came in at number four!
It is surprising to see any Florida market so high on any list of healthy markets, But they say that Jacksonville’s strong employment base has helped it come back before many of the services-dependent housing markets further south.
Jacksonville’s strong military presence has always anchored the economy… and our growing financial services sector has added employment in recent years.
According to Moody’s, Jacksonville employment is expected to rise 3.2% next year and Median income is projected to rise 3.3%. And to add further encouraging news, Businessweek just ranked Jacksonville, one spot above Denver, as the 26th BEST CITY IN THE COUNTRY citing positive data regarding the number of restaurants, school scores and even crime rates. They said,
“…with miles of Florida beaches nearby and thousands of acres of parks and preserves, residents of Jacksonville are spoiled with outdoor activities… The city has good schools, low poverty rates, and plenty of great options for nightlife.”
Apparently, builders and developers must also sense our market is positioned for recovery. They pulled 28% more permits through the first half of this year than last. and Moody’s expects the growth to nearly double next year.
The fact is that nobody knows for certain… but there are good reasons to think that Jacksonville has, indeed, hit bottom and is poised for recovery over the coming months.
Those home buyers who have been sitting on the fence waiting for the bottom would be smart to carefully consider whether now is the time to pull the trigger.