Week in Review: What We Liked From the Week That Was

On this New Year’s Eve, I can’t help but look back on the year that was.  Unfortunately, it was one many of us in the real estate business are happy to put behind us as “foreclosure” became a top search term on Yahoo! for 2010.

The news was truly mixed over the last 12 months, as it seemed nearly every bit of good news was met with bad news.

For example, on the good side, according to CoreLogic, Inc., the number of U.S. homes with mortgages larger than their property’s worth  – or “negative equity” – dropped for the third straight quarter to approximately 10.8 million homes, or 22.5 percent of mortgages.

However, in a sign that bodes poorly for home ownership in the short term, real-estate stocks finished the year with double the gains of the broader stock market for the second year in a row.  Investors are expecting that commercial properties will post stronger earnings from rising rents and greater occupancy rates in 2011, when residential buying is expected to drop.  Hopefully 2011 is the year the residential market begins to recover for the long term.

Let’s focus on some more bright spots – in 2010, Financial Edge identified five real estate “markets to watch in 2011,” and they include Las Vegas, Phoenix, Fort Myers, Miami and Santa Barbara.  In short, some of the hardest hit areas, such as Arizona and Florida, have likely bottomed-out and are poised to rise.  Do you feel that your community has weathered the worst?

On a lighter note, those resolving to get in better shape in 2011 can start right away in New York City’s Central Park with a four mile run starting right at midnight on Jan 1. Now that is what I call starting the year off on the right foot.  If you are looking to lead a healthier lifestyle in 2011, here are some tips.

What was your favorite memory of 2010?  I must admit, as a Canada native I was happy to see our Olympic ice hockey team take the gold medal.  But there were so many global events that were inspirational this year.  For example, were you one of the millions who watched as the last of the Chilean miners were rescued to the singing of their countrymen?   Or did you get more active on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other social media sites?  With Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg named Time’s Person of the Year, it was truly the year of social media.

There are ups and downs in every year, but I am optimistic that 2011 will bring positive developments for our industry, and I wish you and your family a peaceful and prosperous new year.

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