Question of the Month

by Admin 21. December 2009

We have received a lot of questions from our customers, friends and associates lately on what will happen to housing prices in the new year.  We could do research, however, any of our comments would be pure speculation.  Instead, we would prefer to hear your thoughts and opinions. 

Use the comment feature below to post your perspective.  We are interested in what you have to say.

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Financial Crisis = the Opportunity for Positive Change

by Admin 17. December 2009

For those of you that know me, you know that I am a big fan of the TED talks. If you don't know me and you're not familiar with what TED is, I'll explain... Um, or at least wikipedia will explain:

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is an academic organization owned by The Sapling Foundation, a private nonprofit foundation. TED is well-known for its annual, invitation-only conference devoted to "ideas worth spreading" and for its lectures, known as TED Talks, which originally focused on technology, entertainment and design, but have now expanded in scope to a broad set of topics including science, arts, politics, education, culture, business, global issues, technology and development.

So, basically TED helps spread new ideas and concepts by having the large TED talks and then more localized TEDx events which, I might add, was recently here in Baltimore at MICA called TEDxMidAtlantic. Needless to say, these talks never cease to amaze me and provide a great resource to evaluate our world from alternative point-of-views. This brings me to the point of this post...

This past year has been rough...very rough, and quite frankly, I'm tired of all the negativity. Right now, with the year coming to a close, I'd rather examine what good will come from the lessons learned. How will consumers and society as a whole evolve from the "Great Recession?" Well, John Gerzema recently gave a TED talk on "The post-crisis consumer" which answers those very questions. Take a look and let me know what you think and what your thoughts are in the comments section.

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A Look Back at 2009

by Kevin Lynch 11. December 2009

So who else is tired of talking about 2009? I think we can all agree that this has been one of the most challenging years in recent memory. But before we leave this year and jump into 2010, let's take a look at some of the things we learned along the way.

Property values don't always increase- According to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun, the average sales price of a house in the Baltimore metro area in November was $260,000. This is a decline of 8% since last year and about equal to the average in 2004. In Maryland alone, almost 22% of homeowners owe more on their house than the property is worth. With the continuing softness in the economy, many experts feel that home values will not rebound significantly in 2010.

Saving is the new "consuming"- As credit card issuers and other lenders slashed available credit lines, cancelled credit cards, and raised interest rates, consumers realized how little they had to fall back on in an emergency. So consumers began saving at an accelerated rate and controlling their use of credit. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues into next year.

Consumers are taking greater control of their finances- Given all the above, the number one new years resolution in 2009 was managing their finances, eclipsing losing weight and stop smoking. There were numerous online tools available to help consumers organize and manage their whole financial life including bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and investment accounts. Web start ups like Mint, Geezeo, and Wesabe entered the market, while traditional players like Quicken Online and Yodlee continued their offerings. As bank customers look to their providers for help and advice, 2010 appears to be the year that many financial institutions will begin to offer these services as well.

So let's say good bye to 2009 and welcome in a new year. Here's hoping it is a little less "challenging" than the last!



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