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New York Times Front Page June 28th Joe Niece Interview


WASHINGTON — Announcements of a housing recovery have become a wrongheaded rite of summer, but after several years of false hopes, evidence is accumulating that the optimists may finally be right.

The housing market is starting to recover. Prices are rising. Sales are increasing. Home builders are clearing lots and raising frames.

Joe Niece, a real estate agent in the Minneapolis suburb of Eden Prairie, said he recently concluded a streak of 13 consecutive bidding wars over homes that his clients wanted to buy. Each sold above the asking price.

“I just had a home that wasn’t supposed to go on the market for two weeks sold before it even went on the market,” Mr. Niece said. “It’s definitely a lot different than what we saw” during the last few summers.

Like the economic recovery that began three years ago, what happens next is likely to prove a little disappointing. The pace of recovery will probably be slow, and the prices of many homes will continue to decline.

Millions of people remain underwater, owing more on their homes than the homes are worth, and unable to sell. Millions of families still face foreclosure. And a setback in the still-fragile economic recovery could easily reverse the uptick in housing prices, too.

But roughly six years after the housing market began its longest and deepest slide since the Great Depression, a growing number of experts and people who actually put money into housing believe the end has come.

“Our sense is that the market is recovering, and we’re extremely confident that it’s not going to get worse,” said Ronnie Morgan, a San Diego real estate professional who recently created a $10 million partnership to buy foreclosed homes. The group, Alegria Real Estate Funds, already has bought about 20 homes in suburban communities, most of which they plan to hold as rental properties.

“It feels very much like we’ve hit a bottom and we’re starting to come off of that bottom,” said Stuart Miller, chief executive of Lennar, a major national home builder based in Miami. The company said Wednesday that second-quarter profits were higher than expected, and orders for new homes rose 40 percent.

“I’m a little nervous,” Mr. Miller quickly added in a conference call with analysts, “about saying the word ‘recovery.’ ”

The trend is clear in the data. The widely respected S.&P./Case-Shiller index reported earlier this week that sales prices for existing homes rose in April for the first time this year. Several other measures, including a seasonally adjusted version of the index, show that price increases began in February. The pace of housing construction has increased. And the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that pending home sales climbed to the highest level since the end of a federal tax credit for first-time buyers in September 2010.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the housing market has shown signs of revival, and each previous episode ended with prices renewing their downward slide.

But with each passing year, an eventual recovery has grown more likely. Prices have continued to fall, and the economy has continued to recover, a combination that has expanded the pool of potential buyers. The population has continued to grow while few new homes have been built.

Basic indicators of market health that bulged during the bubble, like the ratio of housing prices to income, have returned to more normal levels.

Government efforts to help homeowners have intensified, allowing more borrowers to refinance or avoid foreclosure.

“All bets are off if anything happens to the economy, but apart from that, I think the fundamentals look better than they’ve looked in 17 or 18 years,” said Richard K. Green, a professor of real estate at the University of Southern California.

Professor Green cited the combination of rising rents and low mortgage rates as a powerful inducement to potential buyers, both renters who would prefer to own and investors who want to become landlords.

“Compared to a lot of other investments right now this looks pretty good,” he said.

The influx of investors is a major reason that the market is looking stronger. Mr. Morgan, 56, built apartments before the housing crash. In 2010, seeing a new opportunity, he and some friends started bidding at the foreclosure auctions then held on the steps of the San Diego County Courthouse.

At first they bought properties to renovate and resell. Now they are focused on potential rental properties in the kinds of gated, planned communities in suburban San Diego that once were populated almost exclusively by people who owned their homes. Some of their tenants are former homeowners.

And competition has increased. The auctions were moved from the courthouse steps last year because the crowds had grown too large.

“There’s not a whole lot of other places to put your money,” Mr. Morgan said.

There are still reasons for caution. An unusually warm winter seems to have given a temporary and misleading boost to a range of economic indicators.

The pace of economic growth remains slow and fragile, shadowed by the risk that politicians in Europe and Washington will fail to address looming problems.

And the rise in prices is happening despite the vast number of vacant houses awaiting buyers, up to two million more than the normal level, with several million more houses still at risk of being foreclosed.

But this “shadow inventory” is not distributed uniformly, according to a new analysis by Goldman Sachs. Even within metropolitan areas like Phoenix, the vacant houses are clustered in less desirable neighborhoods, while buyers are seeking homes in areas where there are few vacancies.

Under these circumstances, the researchers concluded, “It is possible for us to see both house price increases and excess housing supply at the same time.”

Indeed, in a growing number of areas demand for homes is outstripping supply.

The number of homes for sale has been falling for more than a year, according to the National Association of Realtors. Some owners are waiting for prices to rise; some of them must wait because they are underwater.

Mr. Niece, the Minnesota real estate agent, said he and his partner had seen their book of listings decline from about 120 properties to 70 properties, about 45 of which already are under contract.

“I have buyers every single day complaining that they can’t find houses,” he said.

Driving through a neighboring suburb last week, Mr. Niece said that he passed a sign outside another real estate office that read, “The market is great. We’ve sold all of our inventory. We need listings.”

Thank You for Trusting me to buy and sell Almost 500 Homes since 2007, our best years ever in the Worst Market Ever!

Thank You for Making Me the Number One Agent in Minnesota from 2002-2010!

Thank You for Making me the Number One Team out of over 120 Realtors in our Office 2002-2010!

Thank You for making me one of the Presidents Club Agents for 2002-2010!

Thank You for allowing me to be one of the 10 Best Realtors in Minnesota!

Thank You for helping me become one of the top 20 Realtors in Minnesota for the last six years!

If you put your trust in my Team, We promise to keep you informed everyday, market your home as if it were our own and get you the best bottom line possible!
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The Results of Experience

Joe Niece holds his Minnesota Brokers License and is in good standing with the Minnesota Association of Realtors.

Joe Niece hold a Graduate Realtors Institute designation.

Joe Niece received his Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of North Dakota

Joe Niece is one of the less then twenty "Listing specialists" with over 300 past selling clients that is also a "Buyer Specialist" with over 300 past buyers in Minnesota.

Joe Niece is a "Trained Professional Negotiator" one of only a few working as a Realtor in Minnesota.

Joe Niece is the only Realtor in Minnesota that has been #1 at both Coldwell Banker and REMAX in Minnesota.

Joe Niece is a trained "Relocation Specialist" and is trained to work with any relocation Client or Company in Minnesota.

Nightline ABC Contributor Joe Niece was featured on Nightline in the article"Real Estate Meltdown- How Experts Market Homes!"

Pioneer Press Real Estate Expert at Joe Niece celebrates 5 years as their Real Estate Expert! Click Here to see Joe Niece's Real Estate Column

Metropolitan Media Magazine Contributor Featured in the Article "Who is the Best Realtor in Minnesota?"

Trulia Real Estate Joe Niece is a regular Contributor and Expert for!

Yahoo Real Estate, Google Joe Niece has been recognized by every major search engine as a marketing expert!

Our Team brings Professional, Honest, Motivated Service to each and every one of our clients. We understand that each individual sale is unique. We strive in creating and providing a personalized, innovative marketing solution for each seller.

Our marketing experience allows us to sell your home quickly, for the best price, and with as little hassle to you as possible.

Having the best marketing plan in the Twin Cities ensures that our homes will sell quicker and for more money. Remember, if you find someone with a better marketing plan, we will sell your home for free.

We spend 3-5 times more time and money selling our homes then the average agent. We know that you do not want someone to list your home, you want someone to sell your home!

The extensive sales experience our team offers makes negotiations smooth and easy. We believe we are the only Real Estate Team to have a professional Negotiator on the Team.

On the other end, each buyer has different needs and wants. We have the resources to find exactly what you are looking for.

With a Certified Buyer Representative on our team, we know what buyers want. We specialize in keeping our clients informed on both the process and progress of the sale.

Our team is readily available at all times to answer your questions and provide information promptly. Let us show you why we are the perfect team to help YOU with your real estate needs!

When you Expect More from a Real Estate Company, come to ReMax Results and Experience the Difference. For over 20 years, the Remax name has been synonymous with real estate excellence. By continously embracing and adapting to change, we've been able to lead the industry with new technologies and services. ReMax agents are the most experienced and work with more buyers and sellers. This allows our extensive network to help you find a home quicker and sell your home faster for more money.

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Let a Expert Buyer's Agent help you now, Call Joe Niece at 612-305-8487.

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Search every listing of every home for sale though we can no longer use the phrase search MLS because the RMLS initiated a Rule that prohibited the use of the term MLS. So every place that used to say search the MLS now says search Listing Search.