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Real Estate Outlook: Angie Mullings

Century 21 Integrity Group Owner/Broker

Posted online

Stepping into the role as president of the Greater Springfield Board of Realtors, Angie Mullings is forecasting a different landscape for the industry she’s worked in for a quarter century.

2019 Projection: While most experts would agree that we’re not headed for a recession, we are headed for a market shift.

SBJ: How would you characterize Springfield’s real estate climate?
Mullings: We will see a tightening of the market in 2019. We’re already starting to experience that, but we usually do at this time of year … but maybe a little more so just in anticipation of what’s going to happen.

SBJ: This summer was a seller’s market. Inventory and the number of days on market were low. Will we see anything like that again next year?
Mullings: We’re going to see a market shift. This will be an education point for Realtors as we go into 2019. We have had 79 straight months of price increasing and, at the same time, inventory shrinking. While I think everybody is in agreement that our prices will continue to rise a bit, it will not be at the 5 and 6 percent that it has been.

SBJ: Although the rates are still historically low, we’ve seen four interest rate hikes from the Federal Reserve this year. Do you anticipate more hikes next year?
Mullings: A couple of months ago the top economists were predicting four rate increases next year, now they are backing off of that. We are still anticipating a couple next year, but maybe not as dramatic.

SBJ: How is the growth of online lending and technology affecting a Realtor’s role in the homebuying process?
Mullings: When I first got into the business, we were the first stop. Potential buyers came to us first and we directed them. That doesn’t happen anymore. By percentage, I would say fewer than 10 percent end up with an online source for lending here in the state of Missouri or in southwest Missouri, because we’re still a face-to-face industry. But demographics play into that a lot. The younger the buyer, the more tech-savvy they are; the more they are looking for answers online.

SBJ: What are the challenges facing the industry?
Mullings: Our biggest challenge is educating the public. We’ve been in this 79 months of straight growth, and anytime you have a market shift, it’s hard for us to educate the client with that because they’re wanting to say things like, “Well, my neighbor down the street sold their house last summer and got X amount for their house.” Well, we’re not in that market anymore. Most people see this evening out, where it won’t be a seller’s market or a buyer’s market.

SBJ: What are potential homebuyers looking for?
Mullings: The millennials are making up the bulk of our buyers at this point. They want the updating already done. That’s a big shift from the baby boomers. They could look at a property and even if it wasn’t updated, they could see what the potential could be and what their investment could be.

SBJ: What are the challenges with the workforce?
Mullings: We average 30 new agents going through our board a month. When the market is good, it always attracts people. Their challenges will be, like they always are, that unfortunately what you see on HGTV is not what the real estate industry is. It is hard work. You have to have negotiating skills and lots of great people skills. I think it was primarily that if you’re getting into the business and you already have a buyer there, you’re not truly learning how to build the business. They may not have a storefront, but they still have to have a budget and a business plan.

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