Listing Courtesy of RE/MAX ABOVE AND BEYOND
Rehoboth Beach's economy, like all others, is largely dependent upon consumers doing what consumers are supposed to do: buy! Why they make their decision to behave or not is every bit as complicated as you would suppose. It’s the product of how their own careers are faring; how the greater economy (and the economy in Rehoboth Beach) are doing; even how the world economy is behaving—or seems likely to behave anytime soon.
In all of this, the hard facts about how the economy is actually doing are not just backward-looking, they’re also slow to arrive. Worse yet to those who think numbers should mean something definite, the numbers are frequently recalculated later. The latest ‘jobs’ numbers or the ‘housing starts’ numbers, when they are announced, are often accompanied by a statement that the previous quarters number has been "revised to" x. If you are a local business person who makes projections based on the best information available, that wouldn’t be the new number—it would be the previous, now revised number: very old information.
There is one way around this, though, and that’s fortunate. Everybody has the same reliability and timeliness problems, yet have to have some basis for making discretionary spending decisions. The usual solution is to rely upon measurements not of the actual economy’s activity now or in the past, but of what most people expect that activity to be in the future.
Yes, that kind of measurement is ‘soft’—opinion, rather than hard data. But if those expectations are widely publicized, they affect what actually comes to pass. If consumers are bullish on the future, well, that’s reassuring news! Rehoboth Beach businesses are encouraged to stock their shelves. People are more likely to list their Rehoboth Beach homes for sale. The local economy looks better and better! On the other hand, if consumers are depressed about the future, caution will prevail. Businesses will hold off on new hires and trim their inventories. You can’t be too careful, after all. To some degree, consumer expectations often become self-fulfilling prophesies.
That’s why latest consumer confidence reports are the best news for the future of the economy we’ve heard for some time. Last week, Reuters ran the headline, "U.S. Consumer Sentiment at Eight-Year High"; the Business Insider, "Consumer Confidence Crushes Expectations." Reuters attributed the burst of citizen optimism to "improved prospects for jobs and wages, and on lower gasoline prices…"
The University of Michigan co-sponsors the index upon which the numbers are based, which showed December’s reading of consumer sentiment at 93.8, "the highest reading since January 2007." That was a full 4 points above the median that had been previously forecast by 70 economists. It was also 5 points higher than the final reading for November.
If the Rehoboth Beach economy perks up as anticipated, area real estate watchers should expect a noticeable uptick in activity—particularly if mortgage interest rates stay low, and inflation remains a non-factor (the same survey pegged consumer inflation expectations at 2.9%). If you are an Rehoboth Beach homeowner or prospective buyer with an equally upbeat outlook, it’s good reason to give me a call to discuss how your plans dovetail with a rebounding market!
Delaware real estate has greatly benefitted from one offshoot of “virtual” technology. Just click on a listing’s “virtual tour” button and a progression of two-dimensional views of the listed property parade across your laptop or smartphone screen.
Those Delaware listing virtual tours are real estate’s first step toward “VR”—Virtual Reality. VR isthe more immersive version that allows viewers to move around within three-dimensional renderings of computer-generated environments. A current example is the TV commercials depicting delighted VR goggle-wearers experiencing animated fictional worlds. They demonstrate two things: 1) the people who don the goggles look as if they truly do feel as if they are surrounded by a mind-bendingly realistic version of reality; and 2) they also look as if they are disconnected from the actual world around them (as when they duck to get out of the way of something that doesn’t really exist).
As it relates to Delaware real estate, there is a slightly different emerging technology. You might say that it’s half-way between today’s virtual tours and full virtual reality. This is “AR”—Augmented Reality—which combines the real and virtual worlds. It allows consumers to superimpose computer-generated images into real life scenes. Some applications are already popping up, with more on the way thanks to support from the latest operating system releases which allow software developers to dream up applications that take advantage of the possibilities.
IKEA is one company that has developed an application to project how any given furniture model would look in a customer’s own home environment. Customers need a copy of the company catalog and access to IKEA’s website. Simply click on the sample item shown on the site, then position the catalog on the floor where the furniture would be placed. Just point your smartphone at the scene and take the picture—the app recreates the scene with the IKEA piece in place, properly scaled with lighting and shadows correctly rendered!
My guess is that it certain that Delaware homeowners will soon have a lot of AR remodeling aids to help them visualize design choices. One countertop manufacturer has already developed an application that shows exactly what different surface finishes would look like atop an existing counter.
House hunters will benefit, too. The Realtor.com web developers are working on “augmenting reality” in the same way that Hollywood adds subtitles to movies. Their “Street Peek” application will allow house hunters to walk down a street, point their smartphone (Android, at first) at a house, and watch a cartoon bubble pop up over its roof with text showing whether it is for sale, the listing price or most recent sale price, and other information drawn from the NAR database. For Delaware new home buyers choosing model home variations as well as for builders eager to show the potential of an unfinished space, the only current drawback is the difference between the look of the real thing and the computer-generated image. Count on that difference rapidly disappearing.
Whether you are buying or selling, I work to keep my clients informed about the coming advances in the tools affecting their Delaware real estate options. Call me! Call/Text me Russell Stucki at (302) 228-7871, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit more listings at www.beachrealestatemarket.com.