COLLIERVILLE, TN. - Local Realtors heard from one of the nation's leading experts on the current housing slowdown, his forecast for the coming year and beyond. National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun, PhD., recently addressed a gathering of Crye-Leike, REALTORS agents in Sandestin, Florida attending the company's 2008 National Conference and Expo.


"Dr. Yun provided a positive message, much needed in the midst of the massive negative news coverage concerning the real estate market," said Tommie Criswell-Jones, Managing Broker at the Crye-Leike Collierville office. "A vital point to remember in all this talk of foreclosures is that only about 2% of all mortgage loans actually end in foreclosure."


Managing Broker Tommie Criswell-Jones was among several associates from the Collierville branch attending the annual meeting held at the Hilton Sandestin Hotel and Conference Center, Tuesday, October 14 through Thursday, October 16, 2008. Crye-Leike's annual National Conference & EXPO is a weeklong professional development retreat for agents and company executives featuring top national speakers and a Vendor EXPO spotlighting some of the latest in technology, marketing trends, training tools and services available to today's Realtor.


"Crye-Leike strives to give our associates the information and tools needed to be successful," said Tommie. "By bringing Dr. Yun to our National Conference the company once again provided cutting edge information so that we can remain the leading source of knowledge on the housing market for buyers and sellers."


According to Dr. Yun, the housing market has been negatively affected primarily by a tightening of the mortgage lending industry and a lack of buyer confidence. In order for Collierville area homeowners to see a rebound Dr. Yun impressed upon Crye-Leike associates that they must become more engaged in the conversation and take the lead informing buyers and sellers about the market and changing conditions.


Speaking to more than 400 Crye-Leike Real Estate Sales Associates, Yun says the nation is in an economic recession, which he believes will continue for the next three quarters. However, he does not think the current climate will translate into a further downturn in home sales and values. In fact Yun presented indicators that would suggest the country is on the cusp of a housing recovery.


"I see tighter credit availability and buyer psychology as the two key ingredients holding people back from buying homes today," said Dr. Lawrence Yun. "I believe the confidence of buyers has been shaken by the current crisis on Wall Street and the ongoing housing slowdown. It has resulted in many buyers remaining on the sidelines in Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and across the southern U.S. region served by Crye-Leike, REALTORS."


Dr. Yun believes the southern U.S. will eventually see a leveling off of prices and an increase in home sales as buyer confidence is restored by further action by the government to help restore stability to the credit markets. Even though the recent Housing Stimulus Package approved by congress has been encouraging, Yun believes the re-payment feature associated with the $7,500 First time Homebuyer Tax Credit should be removed to truly spur more buying.


"We felt encouraged by the information brought to us by Dr. Yun," said Kay Paul, a Collierville Realtor with Crye-Leike. "There has never been a better time for first time home buyers to purchase a home."


Kay says inventories are high, interest rates are low and with the $7,500 tax incentive now is the time to buy.


"Dr. Yun expressed concern that some buyers who wait might miss this opportunity and he confirmed that our local market has not been impacted like many other communities," said Kay. "The Memphis area has had a steady growth in home values according to Dr. Yun and not the high peak of other communities."


In South Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona, Dr. Yun provided data showing the start of a sales rebound that will eventually finds its way to the Midstate. A housing forecast presented by Dr. Yun and based on 800 of the nation's top economists predicts a recovery in 2009. With down payment assistance programs still available and a first time homebuyer's credit of up to $7,500, there's a school of thought that these are two key factors to unleash a chain reaction for homebuyers in all price ranges to trade up.


For all your real estate needs and personal referrals you can contact the Crye-Leike, REALTORS office in Collierville, Tennessee by calling 901-854-5050. The office is located at 435 New Byhalia. Agents there work with buyers and sellers and specialize in all types of residential real estate sales.


Harold Crye and Dick Leike established Crye-Leike, REALTORS in 1977. Today, Crye-Leike?, the nations 4th largest real estate company, has a network of more than 4,100 sales associates and 132 corporate and franchise offices located in 65 counties through-out the eight-state southern region of Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and North Carolina.


Crye-Leike is a full-service real estate company offering buyers and sellers services in the following areas of specialty: residential sales, mortgage lending, title, insurance, commercial business and investments, property management, development and construction, builder resources, REO bank-owned properties, relocation, auctions, and home services referrals. In 2007, the Crye-Leike organization attained sales of $5.7 billion with 32,500 closed transaction sides.