Real Estate Q&A: Clifton Cheek
Real Estate Q&A
with Clifton Cheek, 2018 President of the Brunswick County Association of REALTORS®
How did 2017 compare to 2016?
We’ve been on a rocket ship that launched in the end of 2015. As with shuttle launches, the initial take-off is a bit slow as the engines have to propel the vessel up, up and away. This launch cycle was 2016. It was a great year in moving forward and seeing our market rebound after many years of slow sales and low consumer confidence. Many of the distressed properties had been sold prior to 2016, so it was the first year we were able to see some traditional sales (ones between an individual/couple looking to buy and an individual/couple selling) start to materialize and allow the market to strengthen. Last year, 2017, was the year we really were able to see the fruits of this turn and noticed days on market decrease, home sales prices start to inch up and inventory begin to deplete. We entered the stratosphere and are continuing on a nice, steady, upward trajectory.
What do you foresee five years from now?
This year has been incredible through the first half of the year. The same path of market stability and growth has continued from 2017. The tides are turning from a buyer’s market (one where prices are kept low due to an oversupply of inventory) to a seller’s market (one where inventory is low and home sellers can capitalize on values increasing).
We have seen a few disruptors enter the buying and selling process but they have largely not affected the real estate market. One of these has been an increase in mortgage rates. For many years we experienced home loan rates in the low 3 percent range, while this year the Fed has inched rates up to the mid 4 percent to high 4 percent level. This is still historically low for mortgage interest rates and has actually, instead of deterring buyers from investing, been a bit of a motivator to lock in before they go higher. Over the next few years I imagine interest rates will continue to rise and we may see 6% sooner than we hope.
Another potential disruptor was the tax reform. The REALTOR® Party did a great job combating the initial bill presented and we fought to maintain many programs that homeowners find extremely beneficial. Some of the most notable wins for homeowners are the continuance of the Mortgage Interest Deduction, Property Tax Deduction and Capital Gains Exemption plans. In studying the market, the trends and the growth of the economy, I feel that we have at least a few more years, possibly (fingers crossed) five years of growth ahead.
How many members are part of your organization? Has your organization seen growth this past year?
The first half of my term as President of the Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® has truly been wonderful! The staff we have are truly amazing and stimulate our continued growth, excellence and professionalism in the industry. Also, the board of directors, committee members, task force appointees and volunteers for the association are all driven to help our association grow and provide the greatest benefit and support to the members. It’s fulfilling to see all work together as a collective whole. We currently have 986 REALTOR® members and 116 affiliate members in our organization. We are quickly approaching the 1,000 REALTOR® member mark, which would be a first since December of 2008! Over the last few years we have seen more engagement, growth, personal and professional education from the members, affiliates, staff and all involved. We always encourage REALTORS® to get involved and welcome all the help, ideas and cooperation from any willing to volunteer. We also encourage any local businesses that support any facet of home ownership to get involved in our affiliate committee and work with us to help benefit the residents and home owners of Brunswick County.
What are the benefits of being a part of your organization?
The Brunswick County Association of REALTORS® is a member-driven organization. We look to help make the practice of real estate fun, educational and strive to provide REALTORS® with the tools and services needed to support their success. As REALTORS®, we work to protect home ownership and private property rights, advance public policies and candidates that build strong communities and promote a vibrant business environment for everyone in our local community, across the state and nation. More than 80% of Americans want to own a home and feel home ownership is part of the American Dream. There is not much else more beneficial than engaging in and supporting an industry focused on making sure this dream becomes a reality.