Is Predicting the Future of the Real Estate Market Futile?

We’ve all read the newspapers and heard the reports on television that shower the national housing market with doom and gloom. Market analysts make their forecasts and continue to predict, and re-predict, when the bottom will hit, but when you talk to people who are out in the field everyday (builders, developers, real estate agents), you start to realize much of the hype is speculation, and really, no one knows what the future holds. Nothing is set in stone, no trend is definite and every downturn (or upturn) is unique and unpredictable.

Unfortunately, with all this negative chatter, a very human reaction starts to take hold and consumers get timid. I’ve even heard the term “self-fulfilling prophecy” thrown around. Whether that is the case or not, it’s harder to pull yourself out of a rough patch when everyone around you is saying you can’t do it, no matter what type of business or life situation you are dealing with. Regardless of what is actually going on in the local market, we see those headlines and many start to shy away from the idea of buying or selling, just because we’ve heard it’s not a good time or we’re holding out to see what will happen a few months from now.

Questions like, “Is it better to wait and see if prices will drop even more before purchasing?” pop up and influence homebuyers to sit on the sidelines, when they are prepared and motivated to take action today. In my experience, the best time to buy or sell is when you need to, not when the market proves it a favorable decision. Each case is individual, as is each city and every buyer/seller. That’s why it has been so hard for analysts to envisage what will happen in the year to come, especially when they are looking at the circumstances throughout the U.S. and making their assumptions on a whole. However, if you take a look around you, the sound of construction and the activity of open houses tell you the state of Chicago’s residential real estate is much stronger than any nationwide reports would indicate. Developers are hard at work putting up new condos while agents are busy with showings and closings, a sign that any pessimistic forecasts may just be overemphatic and a futile attempt to predict what has yet to be written.

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