On November 6, 2010, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes will be hosting it's 3rd annual River Valley Run. This year a 5K, 10K,
half marathon, and a half marathon relay will be offered. The runs will begin at Fort Chaffee at 8:00am. It isn't too late to get registered.
Fort Smith homeowners may be in for a real shocker come April.
The National Association of RealtorsÃ‚Â® has predicted steady existing-home sales for early 2008, followed by a gradual increase later in the year and early 2009 (as indicated by pending sales activity). Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, believes that a "pull and tug" is evident in the market. He believes that the demand for existing-homes can be attributed to the addition of 4 million jobs to the economyÃ‚Â over the past 2 years of sales decline. YunÃ‚Â notes thatÃ‚Â the strength of a home sales recovery is uncertain,Ã‚Â sinceÃ‚Â many potentialÃ‚Â buyers are waiting for signs of a stable market, and the recovery of the market could happen as early as this spring or occur later in 2008.
The Pending Home Sales Index, which is based on contracts signed inÃ‚Â November,Ã‚Â fellÃ‚Â onlyÃ‚Â 2.6% to a steady 87.6%, which indicates stabilization. In response to the decrease, Yun said, "Although there could be some minor slippage in the first quarter, existing-home sales should hold in a narrow range before trending up."
Though the PHSI fell nationally, regional statistics vary. In the South, the PSHI rose 2.3% in November, but is 19.8% lower than the reading it achieved a year ago. In the West, the index dropped 2.1% and is 18.5% lower than November 2006.Ã‚Â The Midwestern index dropped 4.1% (18.6% lower than last year) while the index in the Northeast dropped 13.1% (19.1% below November 2006).
The estimated total for existing-home sales in 2007 is 5.66 million (the fifth-highest onÃ‚Â record), and future totals are projected to be 5.70 million in 2008, and 5.91 million in 2009. The median of existing-home prices this year will be $217,600 and $224,400 in 2009 (an increase of 3.1%). Ã¢â‚¬Å“Rising home prices in the affordable midsection of the country are likely to offset declines in some of the previously hot markets,Ã¢â‚¬Â Yun said.
Two-thirds of metropolitan areas are showing price gains, particularly in places like Pittsburgh: Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas: San Jose, California: and Bismarck, North Dakota.
Consumer surveys have shown that the medianÃ‚Â amount of timeÃ‚Â buyers stay in their homes is 10 years. Yun sees this median as "a wise approach to housing, because the data shows the longer you own, the better your investment."
New-home sales are expected to decline from 773,000 (2007) to 669,000 in 2008, and increase to 730,000 in 2009. The median price for a new home should rise 0.4% from 2007's price of $241,400 to $242,200 this year. In 2009 this price will increase an additional 5.9%.
Multifamily units are expected to increase from .36 million (2007) to 1.09 million (2008) and eventually 1.10 million (2009).
Ã‚Â Yun believes that an improvement of the market isÃ‚Â definitely possible.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“Some policy changes, such as raising the loan limit on conventional mortgages, would provide a significant boost to home sales, increase liquidity, strengthen home prices and lessen foreclosures, but it is unclear as to if and when the measure will be implemented,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. NAR supports the raising of the Government-Sponsored Enterprise loan limit to a minimum of $625,000 (from the current $417,000) in order to enable consumers (more specifically an estimated 330,000 homeowners) access to lower interest rates on safe conforming mortgages.
The NAR also wishesÃ‚Â for the Federal ReserveÃ‚Â to cut the Fed funds rate toÃ‚Â 3.5% at the January Federal Open Market CommitteeÃ‚Â meeting rather thanÃ‚Â periodically cutting small amounts throughout this year. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Consumers are also looking to market-time interest rates, and the expectations of further rate cuts are pushing some home buyers to delay.Ã‚Â Monetary policy will be much more effective with a one-time large cut, rather than a series of small cuts,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Yun.
Ã‚Â In addition to new and existing-home prices, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage will also rise by the end of 2008 to 6.3% (without a cut in the Fed funds rate). If it were cut, the Fed funds rate would lower short-term interest rates.
GDP (gross domestic product) was measured at 2.1% in 2007 (lower than the 2.9% growth rate in 2006). This year, the projected GDP growth is at 2.0%. Ã‚Â
The unemployment rate is expected to rise 5.3% in the second half of 2008 (the average rate for both 2006 and 2007 was 4.6%).
Inflation is projected by the Consumer Price Index at 2.9% for 2007 and 3.1% for 2008 (both decreases from the 2006 rate of 3.2%). Inflation-adjusted disposable personal income isÃ‚Â expected to riseÃ‚Â 3.1% for 2007 (the same as in 2006) and then grow 1.6% in 2008.