Outlook 2012: Ingo Winzer Sees Tale of Two Cities

This year will be a tale of two cities. Local employment created by economic growth will drive housing market recoveries, and those markets that create more jobs will see property values and rents improve faster than others that don’t.

In some markets with high foreclosure saturation rates, foreclosure inventories will cause temporarily price swings as inventories rise and fall, but even in these cities, in the long run, local economies will be the key.

That’s how Ingo Winzer sees the year ahead. In 1990 Winzer created Local Market Monitor because there wasn’t anything like it and developed of the National Review of Real Estate Markets, which analyzed conditions in 100 US Markets using such economic data as home values, employment growth, and population growth. More recently he created Equilibrium Home Prices, which have proved valuable in assessing real estate market risk during the last two economic cycles. He’s more interested in what makes local markets tick than broad national forecasts that may be irrelevant to local professionals, consumers and investors.

“The evidence is now pretty clear that a sustained economic recovery is underway, although housing markets won’t feel much benefit until next year. Consumers are in no particular hurry to buy a house because they don’t see home prices going up. Homeowners - as opposed to investors - would rather wait to pay a higher price than admit to their friends that they bought too soon. NO market has yet seen an increase in prices,” Winzer said in his January economic outlook.

“Local price increases of 6 percent are going to be difficult, but 3 to 4 percent are more likely. Some markets, like Atlanta, that are struggling with employment are going to have a hard time while others will do markedly better,” he told Real Estate Economy Watch.

Local Market Monitor is popular with investors who rent out their holdings because of its local data and forecasts on rents. Noting that more people today want to rent than buy, Winzer believes that many retirement and second home markets that have been flooded with foreclosures are going to take a long time-ten years or more-for prices to recover.

“In other markets where investors are active like Miami it’s not so bad because there is great demand,” he said.

Housing markets are going to continue to improve with job growth, even at just 2 percent a year, and economic growth will determine rental increases as well as home values. Overall rents are going to reflect population flows. “In a recession people tend to sit still. When things pick up, people are more willing to move to where there are jobs,” he said.

For long term investors, however, projecting rental cash flow ten or twenty years down the road is difficult even at the local level because of the sensitivity of rents to local economic conditions.

“My advice to the long term investor is to reduce risk by buying a more expensive property in a desirable neighborhood where you will be able to charge a premium rent. In lower cost properties, rents may become comparable to the monthly costs of owning a home. Renters in a lower cost property are more likely to buy than those in a higher cost property,” he advised.

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  1. Outlook 2012: Ingo Winzer Sees Tale of Two Cities « Calgary « Real Estate Sacramento Says:

    [...] RealEstateEconomyWatch.com This entry was posted in Calgary and tagged 2012, Cities, Ingo, Outlook, Sees, Tale, Winzer. [...]

  2. Tail of Two Cities: 2012 Real Estate Outlook dependent on Local Economies « coffeecapitalrealestate Says:

    [...] Read more about Winzer and his economic forecast on my blog  [...]

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