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    Posted November 7, 2015 by
    Los Angeles, California

    Q & A with Real Estate Expert Fred Wehba Regarding Market Trends

    West Coast real estate investor Fred Wehba answers questions about foreign investors and more in this Q & A on 2015 market conditions.

    Q: Have home prices increased as the market has continued to recover?

    Fred Wehba: According to RealtyTracs, home prices in many areas have reached their highest levels since shortly after the market collapse.

    Q: What has caused this increase?

    Fred Wehba: Natural appreciation and a limited number of homes have contributed greatly to the higher home prices.

    Q: Has 2015 been a nearer-to-normal market?

    Fred Wehba: Yes - 2015 appreciation rates have hovered around 3%. This is consistent with historical growth.

    Q: At what rate has residential real estate been appreciating?

    Fred Wehba: Over the last several years, we have seen prices climb by 6% or more in some parts of the country. This is an unsustainable growth rate and the return to normal has been most welcomed by investors with established properties.

    Q: Has 2015 been more of a buyer’s or seller’s market?

    Fred Wehba: This year has been fairly balanced with power moving in a more equal direction between buyers and sellers. However, in some areas, inventory remains low and sellers hold an advantage.

    Q: Are investors still active participants in real estate growth patterns?

    Fred Wehba: We have seen a clear pattern of decreasing investment activity; that is not to say that investors are not buying and selling, just on a smaller scale than the last five or so years.

    Q: Why is that?

    Fred Wehba: As prices starts to stabilize, investment properties don’t command the higher prices that they have in recent years.

    Q: Do home buyers typically make an offer on the first house they view?

    Fred Wehba: 2015 saw an increasing inventory of homes. This means that homebuyers have had the luxury of picking and choosing and did not feel pressured to make an offer on a home that did not satisfy their every need.

    Q: Do buyers tend to insist on specific contingencies?

    Fred Wehba: Over the last several years, buyers have been inclined to waive contingencies in order to score a home. However, 2015 saw a reemergence of buyers insisting on home inspection and financing contingencies.

    Q: Is America an attractive market for foreign investors?

    Fred Wehba: Many high-stakes investors view a stabilizing American economy with bright eyes in the midst of their own country’s economic turbulence.

    Q: What restrictions in other countries make American real estate more attractive?

    Fred Wehba: Many countries are now imposing additional taxes on luxury properties. Others have placed what many believed to be unfair restrictions on home purchases in metropolitan areas.

    Q: How does the U.S. currency stand against that of other countries?

    Fred Wehba: Many investors view U.S. dollars as a considerably safer option than that of their own country’s currency. The USD has not fluctuated as dramatically as cash in many parts of the world.

    Q: How are foreign-owned U.S. properties utilized?

    Fred Wehba: Many foreign investors choose to offer their properties for lease or for personal use as a travel residence. There are many that purchase modest residences for children attending college in the United States.

    Q: Why has 2015 been an attractive year for sellers to put their home on the market, in your opinion?

    Fred Wehba: More lenient financing options have made it easier for the average family to purchase a home. This has opened up the buyer pool to include anyone who can afford a 20% down payment.
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