Alphabet Soup

There is no such thing as a “Licensed Realtor”.   I have mentioned this before but it is my pet peeve.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania issues two classifications of Real Estate Licenses.  They are Salesperson (the vast majority of practitioners) and Broker.

The Realtor organization is a trade association – – one of the largest in the Country.  The National Association of Realtors is a great advocate for both consumers and real estate practitioners and is most notable for its Code of Ethics to which practitioners must ascribe.  The organization is further broken down on the state level, The Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, and on the local level which is, here, the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors.

Within the Realtor organization there are various industry designations that are recognized and obtained through additional course work and testing.  These would include the GRI, ABR, CRS, SRES, e-Pro, CCIM and others.  Realtors with advanced designations tend to be more experienced, successful and knowledgeable.

I hold the CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) designation.  Less than 4% of licensees nationally hold the CRS designation.  It would roughly be equivalent to having a “Masters Degree” in the practice of residential real estate.

The Council of Residential Specialists (CRS) publishes a magazine which is periodically distributed to those holding the Designation.  The March/April issue of the magazine held out some interesting facts that I will pass along in this blog.

These national statistics and observations include the following:

In January, the Federal Reserve noted hopeful signs about the state of the housing market, consumer confidence and the economy at large.  The housing sector plays a key role in economic recovery.

  • Home prices in 2013 ended up 11.3% from the year earlier according to the S&P/CASE-Shiller price index.  That is the best year since 2005.
  • More than 24 million young adults ages 18-34 are living with their parents or parents-in-law.  I have mentioned in several previous blogs that this is very much a factor affecting the first time buyer market and, in turn, the trade up housing market.
  • The housing market for home buyers over 55, however, continued to grow.  People over 55 will increase their homeownership rate to nearly 47% by 2020.
  • Almost half of home sellers last year “upsized” to a larger more expensive home.  The typical home seller had lived in their previous home for 9 years.  88% were assisted by a real estate agent.
  • The delinquency rates continue to fall.  The national delinquency rate (mortgage loan holders who were behind on their payments for 60 days or more) fell below 4% in 2013 – – the lowest level since 2008.  All 50 states and the District of Columbia recorded lower delinquency rates in 2013 and in 2014.
  • Distressed property sales rose last year.  This is not necessarily a bad sign inasmuch as this pool of foreclosed or bank owned property is being absorbed.
  • Houses are getting older.  As buyers and sellers get older, so do houses.  More than 40% of the owner occupied homes in the United States were built before 1969.  Homes built between 2000-2009 accounts for only 15% of our owner occupied housing stock.
  • Mortgage payments rose in 2013.  Families are paying more on their monthly home payments than they did last year.  This is largely due to steadily rising home prices and a very light uptick in interest rates. The monthly cost of owning a home is still considerably less than renting in the majority of markets.

I hope these “tid-bits” have been helpful to you.  As always, I am available to speak with you personally regarding any questions or ideas that you might be contemplating in the field of real estate.

Ray “Buz” Wolfe, Jr.
Wolfe & Company Realtors

*Ray L. “Buz” Wolfe, Jr. is a licensed Real Estate Broker in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  He is not an attorney and is not licensed to practice law.  No comments made within the confines of his blog should be construed as legal advice.

**All statistics cited obtained from Central Penn MLS are believed, but not guaranteed, to be accurate.