When you're working in real estate, it can be hard to define the scope of your awareness. Where exactly are the edges of the big picture? Are they jus
When you’re working in real estate, it can be hard to define the scope of your awareness. Where exactly are the edges of the big picture? Are they just beyond the periphery, or do they require a 180-degree spin? There are so many trends and developments on the national scale, not just in real estate but in the economy as a whole and in many related sectors, that impact real estate on the local level.
For example, changes in national education policy can eventually have an impact on public education in your area, which impacts where people choose to move, spend their lives, and raise their children. Something as simple as a new political appointee in the Department of Education or Transportation can fundamentally transform your local landscape. It won’t happen all at once, but there is no predicting how people will react, and how even minute changes in consumer culture will affect the market.
Not only does the national climate act as a partial determinant for the local one, but the reverse is true as well. While there are many aspects of the broader scope of the economy that act relatively independently of what happens locally, at a basic level, the national realities of the real estate industry are the sum of what is occurring at the local level.
Different locus of focus
Remaining abreast of developments on the local and national stage involves different respective aptitudes and directions of attention. The collective psychologies of these arenas vary greatly, and it is important to have an adaptable mindset so that you can fully understand your position at different scales.
On the national level, developments are more conceptual. They involve theory, speculation, and discussion. The process of understanding and applying them can be more vague, cerebral, or abstract. Relevant concepts include national interest rates, the state of the United States economy, and consumer confidence.
As you can see, many of these “metrics” are abstract concepts. Pundits and experts alike enthusiastically disseminate strong opinions for inundated professionals to sift through. Theory is cited more often than data.
Data and theory
Of course, theory is what underpins the development of the trends that data describes. It is important to have a basic working knowledge, if not of the theories themselves, then of the dialogues that surround them. On the other hand, at the local level, the concerns that consumers and professionals have are much more practical and concrete.
These concerns include the quality of schools, new housing developments, demographic changes, local amenities, and features like walkability and transportation. All of these things can be described much more quantitatively than many of the aspects of the national real estate market and the economy. For example, you can describe absorption rate – one of the most important determining aspects of market health – as [total homes on the market] / [(average number of sales) / (specific time period)].
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Of course, very few of the elements of the national and local arenas act independently of each other. The national state of mortgage availability will affect the absorption rate in individual communities. The appointment of certain politicians and advisors will affect local policies and thereby quality of life.
To unify these forces in discussion and action is the work of a superior real estate professional. Understand how events – and perceptions of those events – impact the sentiments and actions of local consumers. And understand that you, too, can shape how these forces intertwine.