It’s a brand new year and all things are new and fresh once again as we all turn inwardly assessing our personal and corporate souls along with our projected path forward in the year 2012. We eagerly anticipate an exciting year in the community of Bartlesville, Oklahoma and we truly believe it will be a great year to be in the business of homebuilding and community development. Throughout the past year I’ve pounded the lectern telling folks that it’s a great time to buy a home. Interest rates are at historically low levels. Home prices have remained flat for the past five years making purchase prices effectively lower since they haven’t risen with the cost of living. And yet many potential home buyers in Bartlesville remain on the sidelines waiting...for what you may ask? Lower rates...not happening. Lower prices...possible but unlikely given coming demand and job growth that is planned for 2012. So despite good price value, low rates and plenty of choices, most folks are still looking for the perfect buyer storm even given an incredibly enticing window of opportunity. I hope those who wait are rewarded, but I wonder. This past August I sat in the Harding University Benson Auditorium listening to the President of that institution of higher learning, Dr. David Burks, welcome incoming freshman. As Dr. Burks spoke of the virtues and the dignity of a college education I peered over the shoulder of a young college age student in the row in front of me. I wasn’t snooping intentionally but this young lady held her phone in such a way as to be directly in the line of sight of my eyes and Dr. Burks. So rather than glancing away I watched bemusedly as this young student finished a text...and then spent a full two minutes scrolling through all the happy face options looking to put an appropriate flourishing end to her text message. She settled on the “wink and a smile” and set her phone aside as Dr. Burks ended with a flourish of his own encouraging these young students to put their hearts and souls into the wonderful idea of learning and higher education for this would be the most exciting and adventurous time of their lives, all of which was lost on this young lady because she couldn’t decide how to end a text.
And so I’m reminded of this young lady when I think of some buyers today...looking for just the right happy face to put on a purchase...and perhaps missing the opportunity of a lifetime in terms of price point and rates and options. I’m also reminded of a banker by the name of Walter Allison, President of First National Bank some years ago. Walter used to say that, “...when rental houses and apartments were all full, then six months later the buy side of the market would boom.” At this very date, our organization manages and leases 120 houses, apartment units and duplexes. We have 120 current tenants for an unprecedented 100% occupancy rate. We’ll check back on June 30 to see if Mr. Allison was right.