May 1, 2007 Edition

Fourth Quarter 2006 NAR Report

A look at the big picture
By Buck Maxey

The most recent report from the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) covering the fourth quarter of 2006 makes some interesting points regarding the overall condition of the real estate market. Although there are no real surprises, it is interesting to note that, once again, overall prices at year-end were higher than at the end of 2005.

Total existing homes sales, including single-family and condo sales, were at a seasonally adjusted annual sales rate of 6.24 million in the fourth quarter, which was down 10.1% from 6.94 million unit level in the same quarter from 2005, although six states did show increases in sales.

In the fourth quarter, analysis for metro-area single-family home prices in 149 MSAs show 71 gained in price over the previous year (including 14 with double-digit gains), 73 decreased in price, and 5 were unchanged.

David Lareah, Chief Economist for the NAR, contends that the fourth quarter of 2006 may have been the bottom of the current cycle. "This information confirms 2006 was the year of contraction, and hopefully the fourth quarter was the bottom of this current business cycle. Home sales are leveling at historically high levels, and examination of data within the quarter shows home prices stabilizing towards the end. When we get the figures for this spring, I expect to see a discernable improvement in both sales and prices."

Somewhat surprising is the fact that, in spite of widespread price declines, the median single-family home price actually rose 1.4% for the year to $222,000. Although in the fourth quarter, it was down to $219,300 -- a 2.7% decrease from the same quarter in 2005.

The report also points out that, even in areas with recent price declines, homeowners across the nation have seen substantial increases in their home's value over the last five years. NAR President Pat Vredevoogd-Combs feels a broader view is required, stating that "since the typical homeowner stays in a home six years, it's more useful to look at the five-year comparison for metro home prices-most of them are seeing strong gains." In fact, nationally, the median five-year price gain is 41.8%.

When broken down by region, you can see that the overall trend for the fourth quarter was a reduction in sales and median prices from where they were the previous year:

Existing Single-Family Home Unit Sales/Median Price


  • 1.04 million units in Q4, 6.6% below one year ago
  • Median price $274,600, 2.5% below previous year


  • 2.49 million units in Q4, 8.5% below one year ago
  • Median price $181,700, 3.7% below previous year


  • 1.43 million units in Q4, 8.6% below one year ago
  • Median price $161,800, 4.2% below previous year


  • 1.28 million units in Q4, 17.8% below one year ago
  • Median price $355,100, 0.4% above previous year

Initial indications are that early 2007 activity is picking up as sellers become more flexible on pricing and buyers are moving back into the markets. In fact, seasonally adjusted single-family sales in February actually increased 3.7% over January; however this was still a decrease of 3.4% from February 2006. In addition, the median existing single-family home price dropped 1.5% from a year ago to $211,100.

What's important to take away from this report is that a lot of the negative hype about the market is based on localized conditions, rather than on the market as a whole.

. . . Buck Maxey is HVA's market research analyst, as well as a Licensed REALTOR and Licensed Loan Officer. He can be reached at 972.761.0046, ext. 173.

Harnessing The Power Of Passion

Identifying and managing your employees' passions to further your success

According to a recent article on, one way to keep your business on a course for success is to match your employees to roles that engage their individual passions. The article, "Tapping into Passion," explains that the key to managing passion is to determine what motivates an employee, and ensure that he has ample opportunity to tap into his passion in his day-to-day responsibilities.

The article's premise is that most people are passionate about something; the trick is to figure out what that "something" is for each of your employees, and then determine how to translate it to their role within the company. The article offers ideas about how to uncover passion, direct it, and keep it fueled. It also warns about potential pitfalls, such as ignoring the connection between passion and personal investment.

At HVA, we use the Four Strengths Personality Profile as a tool for identifying our passions, and we encourage franchisees to use the profile as they build their own teams. The ultimate goal for each franchisee is to create a team environment wherein each individual is fulfilling a role that requires his or her passion, or strengths. This is the secret to establishing a business that is effective and efficient, both in the short and the long run. Here's why:

When we are able to spend the majority of each day doing what we are passionate about, everyone wins. We win, because we are energized by performing that task. The people for whom we provide our product or service win, because they receive a superior product or service. The team wins, because we create an infectious, positive energy, and financial success for our company. And our family and friends win, because we are a happier and more fulfilled person.

Be sure to read the BNET article in its entirety. Then take a few minutes to explore BNET for additional management tips and ideas.

D'Angelo Foundation Sponsors Entrepreneurship Challenge

Hayes promotes HVA to college audience

The annual college conference of Delta Epsilon Chi, a division of DECA, a national non-profit association that develops "future leaders in marketing, management and entrepreneurship," learned about HomeVestors of America during its Entrepreneurship Academy & Entrepreneurship Challenge in Orlando, FL. HomeVestors President and CEO, Dr. John Hayes, spoke during the conference about franchising opportunities and careers.

Participants in the Entrepreneurship Challenge competed for more than $17,000 in scholarships and travel awards donated by several sponsors, including the Ken D'Angelo Foundation, the International Franchise Association, and the PepsiCo Foundation.

As part of the competition, students were required to create a concept for a business that would promote local products and services to Orlando-area tourists, and that could eventually be franchised in other cities. Students could work solo or in a group of up to three people. Approximately 50 teams developed concepts and presented them during the competition.

The first-place winner received a $5,000 scholarship (to be shared by team members), provided by the International Franchise Association. The winning team also received a travel allowance of $3,000 to attend the IFA annual convention. Second- and third-place winners received scholarships of $3,000 and $2,000 respectively. Additional awards were presented to advisors of the winning challenge teams.

In his presentation, Dr. Hayes provided information about HomeVestors and the service that 260-plus HVA franchisees provide to consumers in more than 30 states. He also shared anecdotes about the development of Subway. Dr. Hayes is the co-author of Start Small, Finish Big, which he co-wrote with Subway founder Fred DeLuca.

. . . The Ken D'Angelo Foundation awards scholarships to students who are pursuing an accredited degree in real estate, franchising, or business/entrepreneurship. To contribute to the Foundation, please visit, or contact Vonda Mathews at 972.761.0046, ext. 139.

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