Last Thursday, as I've done every year since I got started in real estate, I attended the 15th Annual Economic Summit hosted by the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS.
The Economic Summit always provides a wealth of information about the national and local economy and the experts who present there distill the data, parse through the predictions, and help the attendees "Understand How National & Neighborhood News Impacts Business." This year was just as enlightening as all past summits. It had to be. Just look at the stellar credentials of the speakers:
Dr. Lawrence Yun: Chief Economist & Senior Vice President of Research for National Association of REALTORS. Listed among the top 10 economic forecasters in the country by USA Today (2008).
David Stevens: President & CEO of Mortgage Bankers Association. Commissioner of Federal Housing Administration (2009-2011)
Colonel Mark Moffatt: Deputy Garrison Commander for Transformation and BRAC, Ft. Belvoir. 26 year military career. Served in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Dr. Stephen Fuller: Director, Center for Regional Analysis, School of Public Policy, George Mason University. Appointed by 3 Virginia Governors to Governor's Advisory Board of Economists.
The theme for the Summit was "Surviving and Thriving in a Changing Economy."
During the event, rather than taking notes with a pen and paper (so old school), I live-tweeted the Economic Summit. This way I kept a record of the important information of the day and also let my Twitter followers read the pertinent facts as the speakers spoke. So, if you are one of my 3800+ followers on Twitter, you may have already seen some of this stuff.
Here's some soundbites from the Summit which discussed the Northern Virginia regional economy and housing market, and BRAC (Base Relocation and Closure -- which has a big impact on our area):
- "We are at 1998 sales levels yet there are 40 million more people in the USA!"
- "People are not buying new vehicles and new homes. Potential housing shortage if builders don't start building!"
- "Michigan -- not in a recession but a 10 year depression" -- be glad that our Northern Virginia market is not like Michigan! Be very glad!
- "35% of all real estate transactions are CASH buyers!"
- "U.S. provides clear property rights to foreign investors - one of the only countries that does that."
- "25% of all foreclosures are in one state... Florida!" "51% of all foreclosures are in only 5 states!"
- "The cost of a home is not just the price, but really the cost of financing. Interest rates are so important."
- "Consumer sentiment: 74% of Americans view owning a home as very important: ahead of a job!"
- "Homeownership = stable families, better school districts, lower crime, better neighborhoods, healthier people, etc."
- "Most people who work at Ft. Belvoir live south of the base because of housing affordability there."
- "50K people will work at Ft. Belvoir. Only 7.5K live on base. That's a lot of people who will need to buy or rent homes in NoVA." Many of them will be moving here from Maryland.
- "2014 is going to be a GOOD year with job growth really coming back to the D.C. area and a housing market improvement." Remember. Real estate is a long-term investment.
- "4.6% unemployment in NoVA. Best area in D.C. region -- better than DC or MD."
There you have it. I've distilled the distillation for you. Take some time to read back over those tidbits and digest.
And, what would a report on an Economic Summit be if it didn't include at least one chart? Here you go. Below is a chart comparing the Washington D.C. area unemployment rate with the unemployment rates in the largest job markets nationwide:
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