MOVING FORWARD. My Final Comments from 2011 here in Alexandria, MN

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As we wrap up 2011, I reflect on how grateful I am for everything that life has to offer in spite of our own trials and tribulations. For me, starting Randy Fischer Real Estate in January 2008 as The Great Recession began, has been the most challenging chapter in my life. It has been a most interesting four years to say the least, starting and running a real estate company during the most tumultuous times in the history of the real estate business. It was difficult to see with clarity what this recession was going to be about. I believe that the only thing that we could do was get out of bed in the moening, put our work boots on and see what the day would bring. For the most part, that is what our parents (and our grandparents, great-grandparents and the rest of the folks that have gone before us) had to do.

The Great Recession however, touched everyone; some more than others. It exposed the fragility of an economy of which I have seen numerous times before, however never of this magnitude.

The markets did change, the economy is still changing, and the New Economy is going to look like…well, it will be better than the last.

The game changers to the Old Framework of which the New Economy will begin are numerous, but three that have been stated before are: First, the expansion of credit availabililty as many households spent beyond their income earnings in the hope of paying off those debts with future income ended with the Great Recession. Next, home prices were expected to rise as previously since Post WWII. The Great Recession ended that. And lastly, state and local governments has also anticipated that future retiree benefits and helath care, woefully underfunded in many states and localities, xould be paid out of future tax revenues. Again, that won’t end very well.

The housing market today is loaded with opportunity. The Housing Affordability Index is off the charts, highest ever. Housing inventory is coming down, read the report I loaded last week from the National Association of Realtors. Prices appear to be reaching stabililzation levels. Interest rates are less than 4%. You can buy a home if you have 3 1/2% down payment, a modest credit score (Barry Habib, CEO of RPM Mortgage stated Wednesday morning on CNBC that you need 640 or better) and you have a job. Household formations are also increasing. The Barry Habib report that I received showed rents had increased 7.4% the past year – house payments are not inflationary if you have a fixed rate. The question is whether you can get a better deal tomorrow. Time will tell.

As I move around the streets of Alexandria, MN, I ask the people how their businesses are doing. I get excellent reports from even the smallest of business operators. Do your own polling; ask the people in the private sector how they are doing. We are working harder than before and being more productive; one of the benefits that has occurred from the Great Recession. Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric (I had quoted in my September 23rd blog) said, that I repeat often, is that “things are better than people think they are.” Remember our attitude is key; it is all that you have. Stay positive; there is a lot of negativity out there.

The citizens of the Alexandria, MN area clearly shined through this year with the passing fo the bond referendum for a new high school. It was crystal clear that the positive attitude and the people of this community wanted to “move forward”. To further the positive elements of our school district, the levy that was passed on December 19th showed a 4.18 percent DECREASE. Out of the three main taxing entities on your real estate tax statement, major kudos to the school district for their leadership and vision. The new high school will be another major turning point for Alexandria, MN and setting the stage for this community to move closer towards the regional center that it is destined to become.

My final comment is that you should consider investing in the Alexandria, MN area. Oftentimes, money is invested in areas that are far removed from where you live your life. Unlike some communities that may not fare so well after the recession, Alexandria, MN has proudly served myself and others for the past many years. I see a great future, almost like a new beginning. Buy Local, Buy American.

Thank you again for another record year from all of us at Randy Fischer Real Estate. We here shall continue our work in 2012 to help the Alexandria, MN area continue to “move forward”.

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Housing Data Wrap-Up: December 2011

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Housing Data Wrap-Up. December 2011

More good news than bad. The market will always find it’s bottom, after that…it can only go up.

Take time to read the enclosed report.

Thanks to the folks at Wells Fargo for great reporting.

Source: Wells Fargo Securities

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Favorite Charts of 2011

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Favorite Charts of 2011

Great stuff from Wells Fargo Securities. This is their best compilation for a reader to absorb large amounts of data quickly.

Enjoy…Best Wishes from Team Randy Fischer in 2012.

Source: Wells fargo Securities

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My 2011 Sales for the Alexandria, MN. Marketplace

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Well, it looks like my team and I will finish 2011 with 74 closed transactions. I am not sure of the overall sales volume, but the MLS statistic that I pulled showed $16,000,000+ the last time I checked which was the first part of November. I think that is for unit sales volume.

I was waiting to finish it off with one last bang, but the one sale that I have (just short of $500,000) didn’t make it this week. Maybe next week…numbers for next year.

Overall, banner year. One for the record books!

I want to thank everyone who inquired about real estate with my firm. Janet, Julie and I did our very best to assist in the best way possible that we know how to help with everyone’s needs. It is needless to say again, but the market is still a little depressed. The biggest drag on Alexandria, MN real estate are the foreclosures. Those little problems are dragging down the values. I anticipate, we have another year or two of those before they go away.

Oh, and by the way; I couldn’t have done this without Janet, Julie, Mom, Boone & Mitch.

Source: Greater Alexandria Area Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service

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Consumer Confidence is Strengthening! December 2011 is 4th strongest in 3+ years!

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Consumer confidence registered 64.5 for December. This is the fourth strongest month in more than three years! And, not far from the cycle high of 72.0 set in February 2011.

The consumers confidence is strongly influenced by the consumers assessment of the jobs market. As the unemployment rate has come down recently and with employer laying off fewer people than they have as in the past years, it comes as little surprise that confidence is returning. The difference between people saying jobs were plentiful to those saying jobs were hard to get narrowed to a difference of 35.1 (in September 2011 it was 44.5).

Source: Conference Board

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Existing Home Sales. Revised 2007-2010

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Existing Home Sales.2007-2010

Huge number drops, but if you read the report from December 22nd, you will find that a revision was made to the benchmark which changed some of the housing data. Through all of this, the bottom-line is that it appears that we are close to price stabilization levels. The pendulum may have already swung.

Source: National Association of Realtors Economics Research Division

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Final School District 206 levy is approved here in Alexandria, MN

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District 206 levy for 2011 approved

Major kudos to the leadership of School District 206 here in Alexandria, Mn for your stewardship and vision.

Best of luck on the new high school project in the coming years.

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Looks Like a Brown Christmas in Alexandria, MN

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This mornings photo in front of Randy Fischer Real Estate on the main street of Alexandria, MN looking north.

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Existing-Home Sales Revised Downward

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NAR Report
This is a huge, huge report. Sales have been downwardly revised, which will mean that all the previously reported data is now changed.

As was previously reported, 4.908 million existing-home sales last year; is now reported at 4.19 million…a 14.6 percent decrease.

You may want to quickly glance through this article. It is showing, with the revisions made, that the market may be moving towards price stabilization levels!!!

Source: National Association of Realtors

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Why bet the house?

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There was a day in the not too distant past, when home mortgages were uncommon. Go back a little further and they were non-existent.

As markets rise and fall (because that’s what markets do), the series of events that unfolds during the fall, to the person indebted is far more traumatic than the one who has little or no debt.

I am not advocating going back to no mortgages or not believing in taking a risk, because I love riding in rough water…as long as I can get back home again. Wealth creation is quantified by the amount of risk. Taking out a 15 year loan and then working extra hard to pay it off…now that makes sense.

I know a lot of people that have paid their mortgages off, including myself, and this recession was not as tumultuous of an event to those people…I’ve never seen anyone go bankrupt or into foreclosure that was debt free.

It’s okay to take on debt, just have a crystal clear plan on how you are going to pay it off…and then do pay it off. Walking away from obligations, filing bankruptcy; honorable it is not.

I have been in many homes and the best ones that I have seen are the ones that are paid off. You sleep better at night too.

Why Bet The House

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