A New Perspective: Reaching for the stars (and forbidden fruit) | Real Estate Insights

The guilty pleasure of dreaming about things we think are out of reach…or are they?

The personal stories of one Realtor’s battles and triumphs in the highly-competitive Bay Area Real Estate Market, seeking to illuminate and humanize the very real ups-and-downs of homeownership.

I’ve been on a STRICT diet for the past five weeks which means no carbs, no sugar, no juice, no rice, no dairy, no starch, no grains, no cookies, no doughnuts, no fun, no joy, no LIFE . . . It’s supposedly short-term sacrifices for long-term gains. BUT I’m starting to wonder as the pounds slowly come off (too slowly), if I’ll need to eat like a rabbit for the rest of my life. (Is there ever going to be a baked potato in my future?) Typically, I’d be baking up a storm this time of year; a long list of goodies that includes peppermint bark, holiday cookies, cinnamon buns, cheesecakes, and the like (thus the overdue diet). Instead, I’m WATCHING holiday baking shows as if my life depended on it. Season after season of pastry chefs putting together delicious treats that nearly jump off the screen, while I dejectedly nibble on chopped salad. It’s my own form of holiday porn or forbidden fruit — so to speak. Why or how this satisfies my cravings, I couldn’t say, but it does.

Turns out I’m not alone. . .

My cousin, Mary Pat, admitted to me during the Thanksgiving holiday that her favorite form of porn is Real Estate websites.

“I can’t get enough of them,” she admitted, “they’re my guilty pleasure.”

Dream big — but also remember the realities (like winter)

I get it, and there are so many from which to choose. Everything from high-rise condos to seaside cottages, to multi-million dollar estates are available to drool over at the touch of a key. And looking at more attractive prices in other states often has me contemplating about pulling up stakes and moving cross country – until I remember there’s WINTER back there!

No matter, dreaming about white picket fences and rolling lawns is as American as apple pie (I miss that too.) Owning a “piece of the American dream” is the promise we all grow up with, even if it seems unattainable to many. In truth homeownership peaked in 2005 and has become increasingly elusive ever since, dropping to a five-decade low as of 2023, according to the U.S. census. It’s no wonder, housing prices increased. 18.7% between the first quarters of 2021 and 2022, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency Price Index, and then another 4.3% between 2022 and 2023.

Add to the mix interest rates that more than doubled in the space of a year (bringing them to a 20-year high), soaring inflation that included higher prices at the gas pump, the grocery store, and seemingly, everywhere else, geopolitical turmoil, a looming presidential election, and basic lack of inventory, and it’s easy to see why potential Buyers spend more time LOOKING at Real Estate than actually buying real estate. (According to Fannie Mae, 84% of Buyers stepped out of the marketplace altogether.)

Moreover, those of us lucky enough to lock into 3% interest rates (or less) during the COVID years, have little incentive to move, preferring to stay put and savor our lower monthly mortgage payments, adding to the lack of available housing stock across the nation. In short, moving is a luxury afforded to those who must move: death, divorce, disruption, etc., as opposed to those who would like to move, just because . . .

Here’s to hoping

Still, with news that the economy has finally found its footing and that the FEDs are signaling they may be dropping interest rates as early as March instead of late 2024 – as previously predicted – we may yet see a very healthy and robust Spring Market in 2024.(6% -6.5% interest rates should seem like a gift to Buyers who’ve been staring at 7.5% all year.) So that’s something to cheer about.

And speaking of cheerful news, for those of you on our “nice list,” Sarah, Jill, Kate, and I are busy delivering nearly 600 boxes of English toffee to your doorsteps. It goes equally with both Christmas and Chanukah feasts. (If I can’t eat it, I can at least share it.) Yum.


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Julie Gardner & Sarah Abel | Compass Realty

Not just Realtors, but consultants in all things house and home, we’re here to educate, explore, examine and refer . . . In short, you may count on us to take care of your home as if it were our own and anyone who knows us, knows we take pretty darn good care of our homes.

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