Sunday, December 20, 2020

 Let's Talk... Did You Know!?

December 16, 2020
Naples, FL (December 16, 2020) – Today, City Council approved the modification to the prepayment reductions for parking violations. Effective tomorrow, December 17, 2020, if a parking violation is paid within 10-days, the $102 fine will be reduced to $77.00. There will no longer be a reduction in parking violations if paid prior to 60 days. 

In addition to amending parking violation fees, City Council approved a pilot program to convert some parking spaces along the beach for beach parking permits only. Effective January 1, 2021, there will be 363 designated parking spaces on the following twenty-two (22) beach ends reserved for City of Naples and Collier County beach parking permit holders only. These permits are only available to City or County residents.

The City will continue to provide adequate parking to the public (non-permit holders). Metered parking will continue at the remaining sixteen (16) beach ends / blocks. Allowance for beach parking permit holders to park at metered locations will remain.
Beach parking permit-only locations:
·        7th Avenue North
·        North Lake Drive
·        6th Avenue North
·        4th Avenue North
·        3rd Avenue North
·        2nd Avenue North
·        1st Avenue North
·        Central Avenue
·        1st Avenue South
·        2nd Avenue South
·        3rd Avenue South
·        4th Avenue South
·        6th Avenue South
·        7th Avenue South
·        9th Avenue South
·        10th Avenue South
·        15th Avenue South
·        16th Avenue South
·        17th Avenue South
·        18th Avenue South
·        32nd Avenue South
·        33rd Avenue South
Metered / pay station locations:
·        Seagate Drive beach access
·        Horizon Way
·        Vedado Way
·        Via Miramar
·        Lowdermilk Park
·        8th Avenue North
·        5th Avenue South
·        8th Avenue South
·        11th Avenue South
·        Broad Avenue South
·        Broad Avenue South – 100 Block
·        Broad Avenue South – 200 Block
·        Pier / 12th Avenue South
·        13th Avenue South
·        13th Avenue South – 100 Block
·        14th Avenue South
A fifty-cent increase of the hourly rate at the beach parking pay stations will also go into effect on January 1, 2021. The new rate will be $3.00 an hour. 

City residents can obtain a beach parking permit at City Hall located at 735 8th Street South. A valid driver’s license and current registration is required or a Collier County tax document showing proof of ownership if residency is out of state.

Collier County residents can obtain a beach parking permit at the following Collier County locations:
  • Collier County Tax Collector (Main Government Complex) – 3291 Tamiami Trail East, Naples
  • Donna Fiala Eagle Lakes Community Park – 11565 Tamiami Trail East, Naples
  • East Naples Community Park – 3500 Thomasson Drive, Naples
  • Fred W Coyle Freedom Park – 1515 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples
  • Golden Gate Community Center – 4701 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples
  • Immokalee Community Park – 321 North 1st Street, Immokalee
  • Immokalee South Park – 418 School Drive, Immokalee
  • Marco Island Library – 210 S. Heathwood Drive, Marco Island
  • Max A. Hasse Jr. Community Park - 3390 Golden Gate Boulevard West, Naples
  • Naples Central Regional Library – 650 Central Avenue, Naples
  • North Collier Regional Park Exhibit Hall – 15000 Livingston Road, Naples
  • Orange Blossom Government Center – 2335 Orange Blossom Drive, Naples
  • Veterans Community Park – 1895 Veterans Park Drive, Naples
  • Vineyards Community Park – 6231 Arbor Boulevard, Naples

For more information, visit or call (239) 213-1800. Collier County residents may go to: for more information on locations for permits.

Let's Talk... Did You Know???


Update on former Pelican Nursery at the corner of Immokalee and 951

The Pointe is slated for completion in summer 2021 with the first businesses targeted to open that fall. All restaurants coming there will have outdoor seating. Vertical construction began this fall on The Pointe at Founders Square. Steel girders now formt he skeleton of what will be a 38,000-square-foot restaurant-retail hub nearest one of the busiest intersections in Collier County. About two-thirds of the tenants coming to The Pointe are already known. Most of the businesses have been heralded by Trinity Commercial Group — the Estero-based real estate firm that co-owns Founders Square with Naples-based Barron Collier Corp. and Philadelphia-based Metro Commercial.

The tallest girders in the center mark the entrance to the second location of South Street City Oven and Grill, which will anchor the horseshoe-shaped cluster on more than 5 acres. The 6,200-square-foot South Street will be flanked by the fourth area location of Tacos & Tequilla Cantina and a nearly 6,000-square-foot steakhouse yet to be named. Skillets breakfast-lunch restaurant will locate next to the Tex-Mex venue while Luxury Nails & Spa and a national retailer will round out that southwestern leg of The Pointe. Fuji Sushi Bar & Asian Bistro and Palumbo’s Pizzeria will be built out in units on the northeastern leg, with a few other businesses yet to be announced.

The Haldeman Luxury Apartments, a 400-unit residential community, is being built along the southern edge and southeast corner of Founders Square. A substantial part of Founders Square’s acreage is reserved for The Haldeman apartment community. The multifamily residential units are planned for five four-story buildings on more than 23 acres with large lakes and rows of trees separating the new apartments from the existing Tuscany Cove community to its south. The concrete shell for a nearly 35,000-square-foot medical office building was quickly erected in late October with tilt walls near Founder Square’s Collier Boulevard entrance, which will have a bridge over the canal and a new traffic signal in line with the entrance to Pebblebrooke Center. Physicians Regional Healthcare System signed a 15-year lease for the two-story building under construction south of The Pointe.

Meanwhile, passersby will notice a large, metal frame taking shape smack-dab in the middle of Founders Square. That’s where a Georgia firm is developing a climate-controlled, 110,000-square-foot, three-story self storage facility. Alpharetta-based Founders Square Storage LLC purchased the 2.3 acres in July for $2.65 million.

A Circle K convenience store with a gas station also has been proposed near The Pointe and between the two entrances into Founders Square on the south side of Immokalee Road. A site development plan for the construction of a new 5,394-square-foot convenience store with nine, dual-sided fueling pumps with an overhead canopy has been proposed, county records show, but this project is not a done deal yet.

The concrete shell for a nearly 35,000-square-foot medical office building was quickly erected in late October with tilt walls near Founder Square’s Collier Boulevard entrance, which will have a bridge over the canal and a new traffic signal in line with the entrance to Pebblebrooke Center.

Monday, October 19, 2020

 Let's Talk... Hot Off The Press

Can't remember the name of that song? Now you can hum it to Google

Jessica Guynn


Ever had a song stuck in your head that just keeps playing over and over but you can’t recall the name or even the words?

Then this may be music to your ears. Google now offers a simple cure for earworms or stuck song syndrome: You can hum, whistle or sing the tune, even off key, and Google will rustle up a short list of possibilities.

On your iOS device, open the Google app or find the Google Search widget. Tap the mic icon and say: “What’s this song” or click the “Search a song button.” Then hum for 10 to 15 seconds.

Monday, September 28, 2020


Let's Talk...

Amazon redesigns Echo, 

unveils car security, 

flying Ring indoor drone 

and Luna gaming service

Jefferson GrahamUSA TODAY

Amazon unleashed a slew of new products Thursday, including an indoor security drone, car security products, a redesigned Echo speaker with a spherical look and a gaming service.

Click link above for the full story.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Let's Talk Hot Off The Press...

Collier County Commission Approves Face Mask Mandate
During an emergency meeting, 
Tuesday, July 21, Collier County 
Commissioners passed a mandatory 
mask ordinance that takes effect 
immediately. They voted in favor 
of an ordinance requiring people to 
wear face coverings in businesses, 
nonprofits and in most other public 
buildings in unincorporated portions 
of Collier County to curb the spread 
of coronavirus. It doesn't apply to the 
city of Naples and Marco Island unless 
they opt in.
Some exemptions to the order include:
>Business owners, managers, and employees 
who are in an area of a business establishment 
that is not open to customers, patrons or the public, 
provided that 6 feet of distance exists between employees. 
This exception does not apply to employees who are 
present in the kitchen or other food and beverages 
preparation area of a restaurant or food establishment.

>Children nine years of age and younger.

>Anyone who has one or more medical conditions or 
disabilities that prevent wearing a face covering.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Let's Talk... Hot Off the Press!!!
Wilderness Country Club

I have the Best 1st Floor Unit to offer you!!!
Contact me today for all the details...:0)
Michelle J. DeNomme
BHHS Florida Realty
Naples, Florida

Friday, June 19, 2020

Let's Talk... 
Your Next Home Sweet Home...
$ 464,000.00
72 Heritage Way in North Naples at Willoughby Pines
Single Family Home with 3 BR/ Den / 2 Bath
Contact me today for all the details...

Michelle DeNomme, REALTOR, GRI
BHHS Florida Realty Naples, Florida

Let's Talk... Your Next Home Sweet Home!
Best Priced Unit... $172,500.00
105 Clubhouse Drive Unit D-156 at Wilderness Country Club.
In the heart of Naples, 2 BR/ 2 BATH Condo Wonderfully Renovated! 
Contact me today,
Michelle DeNomme, REALTOR, GRI
BHHS Florida Realty

Let's Talk Hot Off The Press... 
Heightened Buyer Demand Influences 
Naples Real Estate Market

Naples, Fla. (June 19, 2020) - REALTORS® kept busy in May as pent-up demand for homebuying resulted in a remarkable spike in buyer interest. As a result, showings in May increased 244 percent compared to showings in April. As remarkable, showings in May outpaced showings a year ago, which increased 5.5 percent compared to May 2019. According to the May 2020 Market Report released by the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®), which tracks home listings and sales within Collier County (excluding Marco Island), broker analysts reviewing the report found the data reflected the everlasting desirability of the Naples real estate market, even during the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Despite the restrictions of social distancing, with many REALTORS® conducting virtual open home tours and adopting electronic signings and virtual closings, 599 buyers purchased homes in Naples last month. REALTORS® and brokerages adapted to the challenges at hand ­- and will continue in the future - to ensure the real estate industry is a leading factor in our country's economic recovery," remarked NABOR® President Lauren Melo, PA, Licensed Real Estate Broker with Florida's Realty Specialists.
"The Naples real estate market is extremely resilient," said Mike Hughes, Vice President and General Manager for Downing-Frye Realty, Inc. "REALTORS were able to adapt fast as new buyers started pouring into the market in May. This is apparent because the report shows pending sales in May increased 90 percent compared to pending sales in April."
Upon reviewing the May Market Report, Coco Amar, VP, Strategic Growth, South Florida, William Raveis Real Estate, commented, "Buyers have less negotiating power because inventory in the Naples area continues to decline. This shrinking inventory led to modest price increases in the single-family home market during May, which saw a 31.8 percent decrease in inventory and 3.7 percent increase in median closed prices compared to May 2019.
Prices held stable, in spite of the outlying issues, with the year-to-date median closed price up a modest 2.3 percent. Jeff Jones, Broker at Keller Williams Naples, pointed out, "The report showed only 103 price increases during May out of the 5,116 properties in inventory, and there were fewer price reductions in May than reported in April."
Overall inventory during May decreased 27.2 percent to 5,116 homes from 7,023 homes in May 2019. However, while there was a 4 percent decrease in new listings of single-family homes in May, there was a 6.5 percent increase in new listings of condominiums.
"We have a 5.8-months' supply of single-family homes in Naples," said Bill Coffey, Broker Manager of Amerivest Realty Naples. "Buyers don't have as many single-family home choices right now so they shouldn't hesitate to make an offer if they find a home they love."
The NABOR® May 2020 Market Reports provide comparisons of single-family home and condominium sales (via the Southwest Florida MLS), price ranges, and geographic segmentation and includes an overall market summary. NABOR® sales statistics are presented in chart format, including these overall (single-family and condominium) findings:

For the full Report contact me today... 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Let's Talk... 
Your Next Home SweetHome...
$ 464,000.00
72 Heritage Way in North Naples at Willoughby Pines
Single Family Home with 3 BR/ Den / 2 Bath
Contact me today for all the details...
Michelle DeNomme, REALTOR, GRI
BHHS Florida Realty Naples, Florida

Let's Talk... Your Next Home Sweet Home!
Best Priced Unit... $172,500.00
105 Clubhouse Drive Unit D-156 at Wilderness Country Club.
In the heart of Naples, 2 BR/ 2 BATH Condo Wonderfully Renovated! 
Contact me today,
Michelle DeNomme, REALTOR, GRI
BHHS Florida Realty

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Let's Talk Hot Off The Press City Of Naples 
Our Beach Rules:

On April 30, 2020, the City of Naples 
City Council implemented Phase I of 
the beach re-opening. Due to 
non-compliance with City regulations, 
the City decided to close the 
beaches at 12:01am on 
Sunday, May 10, 2020, until further notice. 
Today, City Council met at an 
Emergency meeting and heard from 
over a hundred residents and visitors. 

City Council decided to re-open the beaches at 
7:00am on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 with the following restrictions:
·       Regulated visiting hours:
·       Monday – Friday, open sunrise to sunset
·       No coolers and tents (chairs and umbrellas allowed)
·       Walking, running, swimming, fishing, and paddle boarding allowed
·       Weekends: 7am – 11am 
·       Chairs, tents, umbrellas, or coolers prohibited
·       Walking, running, swimming, fishing, and paddle boarding allowed
·       Weekends: 5pm – sunset
·       ONLY chairs allowed.(Tents, umbrellas, or coolers prohibited)
·       Memorial Day weekend 
      (Sat., May 23rd through Monday, May 25th ):
·       7am – 11am 
·       Chairs, tents, umbrellas, or coolers prohibited
·       Walking, running, swimming, fishing, and paddle boarding allowed
·       5pm – sunset
·       ONLY chairs allowed. (Tents, umbrellas, or coolers prohibited)
·       Parking:
·       City of Naples & Collier County beach parking permits ONLY
·       No hourly beach parking (metered parking)
·       No parking on residential streets unless in properly marked parking areas
·       Fines will be doubled from $100 to $200 with no early discount
·       Illegally parked vehicles will be towed
·       Bathrooms will re-open

Discussion will be revisited at the June 3, 2020 Regular City Council meeting.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Let's Talk Hot Off The Press 
with Buffini & Company

Exclusive Interview With Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist
In the current climate, there is a lot of misinformation and uncertainty in the marketplace. In this episode, Brian welcomes back NAR Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun to get an update on the ongoing effects of the Coronavirus on the economy and housing. Informed by the very latest data, this special podcast will give you clarity and perspective on today’s real estate landscape.

Tune in Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. PDT on your favorite podcast app!

May 5th, 2020.

Transcript Below...

The Podcast Every Homeowner Needs to Hear – an Interview with Dr. Lawrence Yun #214

DAVID LALLY: Welcome to “The Brian Buffini Show,” where we explore the mindsets, motivation, and methodologies of success. My name is David Lally, I’m the producer of the show. I know we may be in challenging times, but that’s just why we’ve been working on shows to keep us upbeat and focused on the good stuff. Let’s listen in.
BRIAN BUFFINI: Well, the top of the morning to you, and welcome to “The Brian Buffini Show.” It’s my pleasure, once again, to be joined by Dr. Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist for the National Association of REALTORS®. Lawrence, I was just mentioning to you off-air, that we’ve had all of these famous people and celebrities and sports stars on our program. However, episode 201, entitled, This Too Shall Pass, has become our most listened to podcast episode ever. What can I say? You are the official rock star of “The Brian Buffini Show.” We’re delighted to have you back.
LAWRENCE YUN: Oh, wow. Thank you for inviting me. Very surprised on the number of listeners, but very good to hear.
BUFFINI: It shows that people are really interested in the content, and also very concerned about what’s going on. I was looking forward just to have a short call today, to get a quick update on where we’re at, and what you see. I know we’ve had two really neat reports. We have the existing home sales report came out. Also, what I think is fantastic is, I saw the results of this flash survey you’ve done, of 90,000 realtors.
I just think it’s very, very valuable. I’m going to give you the context of that. Just right now, what I’m seeing is I’m doing a lot of different interviews, I’ve got members of the government coming on, I’ve got all these other characters I’m inviting, and then you watch this stuff on the media, and there’s 15 different reports that say the opposite things, not just on the virus, not just on medicines, not just on reopening states, but also I’m watching people like the “Shark Tank” experts giving advice on real estate.
Mark Cuban is an interesting guy, he knows his way around the basketball court, but I’m watching him do a half-hour on real estate, giving people terrible advice based on no data. I wanted to come straight to the horse’s mouth, and straight to the source of a lot of very cool data, and that we could get into this today and really help, not just people in the real estate business, but consumers who are homeowners, people who are thinking about buying or selling a home, some great information so they could make intelligent decisions.
Since we last talked, 30 million people have filed for unemployment. It’s 18% of the workforce. A lot of draconian measures have been taking place, and here we are. What’s your take of where the market is right now, and what the status of the housing market is?
YUN: Week to week, things are changing just so fast. First, the 30 million people who are filling for unemployment insurance. Those are tough times, to say, that people have to file, but we also have to understand that this is a government-imposed lockdown. The massive stimulus package, the spirit of the stimulus package is to assure that lost income is pretty much almost replaced. I know that many people, the unemployment insurance claims, or say, real estate brokerages, small business owners, some of the small business administration loans are just insufficient to really compensate.
At the same time, we do have some people who are getting a little more in unemployment insurance compared to what they were getting on hourly wage, but this is only temporary. It’s just to replace lost income. It ends in July, unless it is prolonged with new congressional legislation, but the spirit is to replace lost income. At least for the real estate market, interesting dynamic. First, I think the first couple of weeks, there was a degree of shock factor.
We see it on the images on television, about people going to hospital, ventilators, how dangerous is the virus, so essentially shut down for the first couple of weeks when the lockdown was imposed. What I am seeing in recent weeks, the past couple of weeks, is that buyers are slowly coming back to the market. They’re a little disappointed on lack of inventory, but 70% of the workforce will secure employment. They are looking at historically low mortgage rates, and they are just looking for the right home that meets their needs.
BUFFINI: No question. Again, we’re seeing a lot of results to this, I think we can dive in a little bit into the flash survey in a minute here. I thought it was very revealing some of the statistics you shared, but I think one of the things that would surprise people who are watching the nightly news, folks are sitting at home. Folks are looking at their home and going, “I need to make some changes.” 35% of people surveyed in a recent survey of, I think it was 112,000 homes, said they planned a major remodel in the next 90 days.
People are looking at their homes, people are starting to get stir-crazy. There’s also a lot of millennials, who are a key part of the market, who are saying it’s time to buy. We got record low interest rates, and we’re just seeing a little bit of a forestalling of people putting their houses on the market, to some degree, but I think people would be surprised to see how much activity is actually going on in the market in real world terms.
YUN: Absolutely. The first couple of weeks, again, that shock factor, but sooner or later, people do have to go out even to the grocery store. What people are finding is that to buy a home, to do it online and maybe visit a couple of homes, physical in-person visit, they’re recognizing, with social distancing protocol, that trying to purchase
a home and get the deal done is far safer than visiting grocery stores. Even in a restaurant business, it was shut down 100% at the restaurant, but now the restaurant businesses are down only about 50%. It is still down, not good news, but at least people are now saying, “Takeout orders are fine.”
People are becoming accustomed to the new normal, of social distancing. Consequently, here in Virginia, where I am calling from, the sales activities are down only moderately, while other states with stricter lockdowns, just because of governors’ orders, it is down more dramatically just because people simply cannot go outside.
BUFFINI: You bet. Maybe we can dive in for a second. Would you be comfortable sharing some of the March existing home sales numbers, and what’s your take is on that?
YUN: The March numbers, it was down 8% from the prior month. More interestingly, the pending contracts was down 20% in March, but this is just due to the fact that we have far fewer listings, buyers just simply taking a pause. When we survey the potential buyers and potential sellers, they are indicating that they are not out of the market, but simply delaying the entry point. They just want an all clear signal from the governor before re-entering the market. It’s simply a delay in some places where the economy is slowly reopening.
In Texas, Georgia, we are beginning to see listings beginning to come on quite strongly. Therefore, the buyers are getting more excited with more inventory choices. It is simply a pause button, but as the economy, hopefully, safely reopens, there will be more real estate transactions, more people interested. The thing on the flash survey, interestingly, the most poignant point was, there’s no panic among home sellers. They’re indicating the price listed pre-pandemic is pretty much the price they’re currently listing without any discount on those prices.
BUFFINI: Here’s why I wanted you to mention this. I appreciate you guys doing this. Kudos to your team. I know they work hard. You know that the Buffini organization are huge fans of your team because you do great work. Here was, April 20th, 90,000 realtors, and 74% survey, said no reduction and less price, and that sellers remain calm, and there’s no panic selling. Now, like I mentioned, aforementioned, Mr. Cuban, he was saying, “Hey, if I was an escrow right now, I’d just reduced my offer by 30%.” It’s just not based in anything that’s real. It’s not based in what people understand.
People are projecting how they view stocks into something that’s important to people as where they live. We know that 71% of sellers have stopped open houses, if that makes sense. There’s the two stats that really jumped out to me. 55% of sellers are delaying the process a couple of months, and 44% of buyers have delayed the process a couple of months. I asked you on our This Too Shall Pass podcast, does it look like summer will be spring in regards to the typical sales season? This data suggests that this summer will actually act like springtime in real estate. You agree with that?
YUN: I am hopeful that that will be the case, but nonetheless, the spring buying season, the term spring buying season is there because many families with school-aged children, wants to complete the deal before the next school year begins, so that they don’t want their children to be disrupted in the middle of the school year, make new friends at the new school, so they don’t want that.
If this pandemic case, and the path of the virus are such that we are in a lockdown for a longer period, the summer season will certainly be better than what it is now because as people are becoming more accustomed to social distancing protocol, but if we miss the spring buying season, it’s going to be a little tough to fully make up for it. Interestingly, the survey that you also mentioned, from the buyer’s perspective, many of the buyers are not anticipating price reduction as well.
Maybe they face that before the pandemic, and if they are anticipating some price reduction, they’re saying maybe about up to 5%, but that’s under normal market condition, where the buyers are always never putting a full price bid, but slightly under. Buyers are acting normal, sellers are acting normal, and of course, people are unemployed, they are in uncertain situation, but 70% of Americans have secure employment. Fortunately, at least this massive stimulus bill is providing some income support for those without job security.
BUFFINI: Sure. One of the things I loved was that 27% of the agents surveyed, were able to complete transactions, respecting social distancing, and they used e-signatures, virtual tours, messaging apps, and exterior on appraisals, which I love the spirit of real estate people. Pure entrepreneurs, we’re going to figure it out, we’re going to get it done, we’re going to get deals done.
I’ve been in the midst of two commercial transactions, and my 67-year-old broker, who’s been around a long time, has figured out new technologies and new ways of doing things, and we’ve been able to do deals, and it speaks to the entrepreneurship and the spirit of the typical realtor, and also this, there is still a great desire for people to buy, for people to sell, and for people to own a home. Now, I’m going to ask you a very unfair question, and you know me, Lawrence, we’re friends, I’m not putting you on the spot.
Here’s what’s unfair about this question. 50 of the largest companies in the United States who reported earnings for the first quarter, refused to give guidance for the rest of the year. They basically say, it’s impossible, they’re not going to be able to forecast their numbers, and they’re not going to be able to say where they’re going to be at the end of the year. I have a very high opinion of Lawrence Yun. I’m going to say 50 CFOs of publicly traded companies can’t give us guidance, but I’m going to ask you this question because there’s so much misinformation.
People are saying we’re going to finish the year at 2 and 2.5 million transactions and things like that. I’m not going to pin you to a number, but where do you think we’ll end up at the year? If you just take in a Lawrence Yun guess, where do you think we’ll finish the year up?
YUN: It’s not a pure guess. We run some models, we look at how many people are unemployed and their home ownership rate and so forth, and looking at the figures in areas where there is more relaxed government lockdown, meaning that people can visit homes versus say, Pennsylvania and Michigan, where everything is locked down with strict restrictions. Looking at all those pictures, I anticipate the year as a whole, in 2020, the sales activity will be down about 10% to 15%. That is not too bad, considering that we hit a pause button for several months, but I think the prices, we’re going to set an all-time high.
Now, this is a little unfair answer because last year was an all-time high in terms of prices. Even if we squeak out a 1% or 2% price gain, that is still a new high, but I think that home prices will not decline because of the inventory shortage that we have, there is no expectation for the buyers for any big discount. In fact, I would say for any buyers out there, if you think you can just low-ball an offer, just see how difficult it is to find a home with a low-ball offer. People have to be very realistic in offering. That is my forecast.
Coming to 2021, we have all this pent-up demand. I think the sales will increase about 15%, and the prices rising 3% to 5%. One can say that economy, moving positively, job creation, housing market, plus, plus. It’s just that in 2020, we hit a pause button for a few months.
BUFFINI: Fabulous stuff. Again, I know you’re not making guesses here, you’re looking at forecasts. This is what you do all day. Like I said, all these corporations are saying, “I can’t give guidance.” We have the political landscape, we have the media landscape, and then we have some data. There are some data we know, and there are some basic principles we know, of the concepts of supply and demand, and also the dynamic of how real estate works.
Like you said, will there be NFL football with 80,000 people in the stands, is a totally different question than, can a qualified buyer be walked through a property, in a sanitary way, to look at a home, make an offer on a home, do some physical inspections, and close on a home, and then the agent organizes an antiviral cleaning of the property at the end of closing? Is very different than what these other dynamics are. I would say to you, if we end up 2020, and we’ve lost 10% to 15%, that would be remarkable. It would be fantastic and very acceptable for a bump in a year.
YUN: Not only did we try to look at every factors, but we also looked at past disasters events. Now, the current pandemic, it’s so new, nothing is comparable, but when I looked at New Orleans after the Hurricane Katrina, when unemployment rate shot up from 5% to 15% within days, but with a massive disaster relief funding going into the city, the unemployment rate quickly went down once the city began to reopen. Unemployment rate came down to 5%, pre-disaster levels, and home prices actually rose throughout.
Now, one may say there was some home demolition and housing shortage, but for the current nationwide housing situation, we had a housing shortage before the pandemic, and we have even acute shortage today because of not enough listings. Another example is after the tragic events of 9/11. Home prices in the New York City areas actually increased in 2001 and 2002 and 2003. There’s nothing to suggest just because we are hit with this pause button, that automatically, things will come apart.
BUFFINI: That’s why you might be our most popular guest in history, Lawrence, because this is the stuff that’s hard to get, and it’s so encouraging. I think it’s great for people to know that housing is so stable. We talked about it the last time we met. The stock market had come down 30%, and of course, since then, the stock market has come up in just the month of April alone, the Dow is up 11%, the S&P is up 12.8, and the NASDAQ is up 15%. That doesn’t happen in real estate. It doesn’t happen in real estate without like what happened in 2008, which is the complete capitulation of the mortgage market and all of those types of dynamics.
I think it’s great for people to know, “Boy, there is something I can count on.” The housing market, such a crucial part of the economy, that it’s stable, that its pricing is stable, and we’re still in a housing shortage, and people are still having babies, and people still have to move. Some people have been in their house and go, “I want to leave where I am and go somewhere new.”
YUN: If I can add just with one other point is that this massive stimulus package, where is the government getting the money? They’re running up a huge astronomical federal budget deficit, but who is purchasing US debt? The federal reserve is simply printing the money and handing it over. Econ 101 would say that if you put so much money, and put into the economy, it will lead to inflation. Fortunately, America is in an extraordinarily privileged situation, where the US dollar, in times of uncertainty, financial panic, people want the dollar. Because of that, there will not be inflation this year or next year, let’s say five or six years from now.
If we get little above average inflation rate, say 5%, 6%, or like 1970 style, 10% inflation, which I don’t think will happen, but say 5% or 6%, just imagine people will purchase home today, they’re locked in at a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. The monthly mortgage payment is not rising, it’s just fixed, while everything else is rising, this is already a very good investment return. Furthermore, when inflation is there, people want some hedge against inflation, and real estate has always provided that good hedge against inflation.
BUFFINI: You just put together probably the best presentation a real estate agent can give, in regards to, why is it a good time to buy? The answer is on a national level, on an economic level, on a basic needs level, it’s all there. There’s a shortage of inventory, you’ve been forced to stay at home. It’s the one thing you could count, and we’re historically low interest rates. I think at the time of recording this, I saw a 30-year mortgage at 3.49% this morning. Remarkable how cheap that money is. Then you’re looking at, like you said, trillions and trillions of dollars that the fed’s pumping out. It has to show up at some point in time.
Real estate has always, like you said, been a great hedge against inflation. With a consistent lockdown, 30-year mortgage is win, win, win every time you look around. It is a great thing to be in real estate business. It’s almost like this. I was talking to my mother in Ireland. She’s 89 years of age, and a smart little lady. She said to me, “Brian, well maybe God’s being good to real estate right now because it was so hard in the last recession.” I said, “Well, maybe that is true.” God’s being good to the realtors and the real estate owners. Great stuff.
As you take a look at this, and you look at the landscape, we have just a huge number of people who buy and sell and own homes listing, but we also have this real estate community. Let me ask you. What encouragement or what advice would you have for someone who’s in the real estate community, and what advice would you have for someone who’s a consumer?
YUN: For the real estate industry, just like as with any small business owner, it’s challenging times. Also, a bit of uncertain, scary times, but the stimulus package, also please tap into all the resources that are available, and they are lobbied hard for the unemployment insurance availability for independent contractors for the first time ever. Again, the lost income is not the fault of realtors. It’s just the government-imposed lockdown. Please tap into the resources.
I would say that the real estate industry, even in normal times, is quite competitive. There are 20% of the agents who do exceptionally well, and people say, “Why do they do well?” They keep in touch with their clients because the trust factor is the most important, and providing factual information to their past clients, potential clients, I think that develops their trust level, but just say, “This is an adversity.” You go through the adversity, but come out at the end, the other side to say, “I have more knowledge, I have more relationship build up.” That will be a very good starting point for the upturn that I anticipate will be happening later in the year.
For the consumers, mortgage rate 3%. Wow. If one has a secure employment, just consider what opportunities are available. I know they wants to see more inventory, but I expect that once the economy steadily reopens, hopefully safely reopens, more inventory will show up, and mortgage rates will remain very, very low. Consider taking opportunity, but don’t overstretch your budget. Stay within your budget. That will be a very good way to assure that one has a successful homeownership.
BUFFINI: Beautiful. Beautiful. Okay, I’m going to switch gears on you, Lawrence. I’m going to do something that you really don’t usually do. I want to talk a little bit about you because you have a great story. We are shared in one bond where we both grew up in other countries and fought our way to get here, and have built a life for ourselves here, and we have a great appreciation for. Where your father was from, and so on and so forth. Can you just do a little bit of this? Can you, just briefly, tell the folks your story, where you came from, and how you came to be the economist that you are today?