Re/Max Co-Founder Makes 2013 Predictions

Steve Dibert, MFI-Miami

RE/MAX co-founder and chairman Dave Liniger decided to play the Amazing Criswell and like the typical “everything is so peachy” realtor he is, he made some pretty optimistic predictions that sound like he was singing, Judy Garland’s redition of “Over The Rainbow”:

1. With more pent up demand, more homebuyers and sellers are expected to enter the market.

2. Homes sales will rise by 6-7 percent, and prices will rise by 3-4 percent.

3. The inventory of homes for sale will hit a bottom. More homes will be on the market from homeowners whose equity has increased and from lenders who are foreclosing more efficiently.

4. Higher priced homes will begin to sell.

5. Distressed property numbers will bottom out. “We will be dealing with a significant number of distressed properties for a few more years, but the numbers should start retreating to more traiditonal levels in 2013,” Liniger said.

6. Shadow inventory will continue to fall. Liniger explained shadow inventory has already fallen 12 percent from 2011.

7. The number of short sale closings will rise to a peak.

8. Record low mortgage rates will rise slightly by year-end. Although they will remain near their historic lows, Liniger says rates may start to inch up towards the end of year.

9. Lending will remain tight was Liniger’s one negative prediction. “Due to increased government regulation and the soon to be established provisions of Dodd-Frank, lenders will be compelled to keep standards tight,” he said.

10. Home affordability will remain the best in years, bringing more buyers into the market.

Excuse me for sounding like a cynic, but ever since former National Association of Realtors President, Charles McMillian went on the Today Show with CNBC’s Jim Cramer back in 2007 and told people that there are great real estate deals to be had in places like Michigan and Indiana, I’ve stopped listening to the head honchos of real estate and their wildly bizarre observations that sound like they came from Bizarro World.

Unfortunately, Liniger, like McMillian, is a typical realtor who has been brainwashed into preaching and singing, “Everything is coming roses” like Ethel Merman.  Housing in places like South Bend, Indiana haven’t increased since Chrysler closed the Studebaker plant and then dropped 50% since the financial crisis began.  Michigan which saw nearly a 30-40% increase from 1999-2006, lost nearly 70% of it value during the crisis with properties in the City of Detroit losing nearly 95% of their value since McMillian made his wildly optimistic Ethel Merman inspired prediction.

The problem with Liniger’s prediction is that the housing market will not rebound until Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the major banks are allowed to release foreclosed properties by the U.S. Treasury.  The Obama Administration is purposely encouraging lenders to hoard foreclosed properties for the sole purpose of artificially creating demand to drive up property values.



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