Real Estate Renaissance: Barrett Welles

John O. Pickett III
Senior Associate, Principal, Barrett Welles Property Group

With the Dow less than one thousand points off of its all-time high, interest rates at record lows, and signs that the economy is improving steadily, who wouldn’t be bullish on real estate? I certainly am, but a few things have to be figured out first. Personally, I look at two different statistics: consumer confidence and the debt levels of the American taxpayer.  Ultimately, the first is directly influenced by the second. The American people haven’t completely bought into the recovery yet, mostly because they’re struggling under too much debt. The situation is improving, as are the statistics, but I think we need to continue this trend for a couple more years before people really start to feel good again.

In real estate, we are continuing to work through an overabundance of housing supply created by too much building, as well as the foreclosure crisis. The housing supply continues to be pared back by buyers taking advantage of low interest rates and lower prices to the point that we now have manageable numbers, even though we are still above historical averages. However, the trend is a very good one and I think if we continue in this direction for one or two more years, we will be cooking with gas again.

All of these things influence the real estate market, whether you are a buyer or seller—and whether you are looking to buy or sell a $100,000, $1 million, or $10 million property. This holds true in every market, from Peoria to Palm Beach. I love analogies, and the good news is that I believe that we are in the seventh inning of the real estate recovery. I am bullish about the outcome of the game! I just don’t want to put anything in the “W” column yet, as we still have a couple more innings to play.

From the April 2012 issue of Quest Magazine.