Most readers of this newsletter presumably are San Diego Chargers fans, hoping to cheer the home team on to a Super Bowl victory over the next four weeks. And while the Chargers' season has been nothing short of phenomenal, they, like all NFL teams, must enter the playoffs with a clean slate and prove themselves all over again.
We in the Burnham-Moores Center face the same challenge — capitalizing on the strengths we have developed over time, yet having to "prove ourselves" once again in 2007 to our students, to our peers in academia, and to the real estate profession. It's what keeps us invigorated, and motivated to take the Center to the next level.
As we launch into 2007, we are contemplating a wide variety of new initiatives, some imperative, others optional, subject to our time and resource availability. Fortunately, we are blessed with the wise counsel and support of approximately 100 real estate executives who serve on the Center's Policy Advisory Board and guide us in these important decisions. Each year, the Center's staff works closely with members of these committees and with other volunteers to achieve our "must do" goals and establish priorities among our "could do" opportunities.
Samples of our 2007 initiatives are as follows:
Imperatives . . .
Recruit a senior real estate faculty member.
Generate sufficient conference revenues and contributions to sustain our $1 million-plus budget — with growing support from USD and from our endowments.
Complete at least one, and preferably both, of the endowment campaigns launched in 2006.
Options . . .
Develop a successful continuing education certificate program for residential real estate professionals.
Adapt our continuing education program to a Mexican audience, taught in Spanish in Baja California.
Create a single-topic seminar series on forward-looking industry issues.
Launch a "distinguished speaker series," featuring nationally known industry leaders.
Investigate the concept of a USD/community housing resource center to address both mortgage and housing challenges faced by newly hired USD faculty, aging baby boomers and seniors, and by the socio-economically underserved population of San Diego County.
Each year we tackle our mandatory goals and seemingly take on more "could do" initiatives than we intended. We would not have grown the Center to its present position without the tremendous support of our benefactors, large and small, our industry committees, and our exceptionally talented and enthusiastic staff.
We look forward to working with you on our agenda for the new year and wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2007!
Dr. Mark J. Riedy
Seventh Residential Outlook Real Estate Conference Draws a Crowd
Nearly 260 people filled the room at USD's Hahn Center Dec. 18 to take part in the Seventh Residential Outlook Real Estate Conference, presented by the Burnham-Moores Center.
The conference featured a lively agenda of academic, industry, media and student speakers, all of whom shared their — sometimes contrasting — views on where the residential real estate market is headed in 2007.
Attendees focus in on a spirited discussion among Residential Outlook panelists.
George Chamberlin, executive editor of The Daily Transcript and the money adviser for NBC 7/39, kicked off the conference with "A View from the Media." Chamberlin scolded his fellow colleagues in the media for what he deemed a negative spin on news related to real estate trends. Chamberlin took particular issue with figures indicating the low percentage of first-time homebuyers who can afford to buy a home in the San Diego area. The figure, he maintained, was based on the price of a median-priced home, not a home in one of the more affordable, yet less desirable, areas in San Diego. "Your first house is not going to be on the beach in Del Mar," he quipped.
Dr. Alan Gin, associate professor in USD's School of Business and author of the University's Index of Leading Economic Indicators, presented an opposing stance to Chamberlin in his presentation. At the national level, Gin called for increased foreclosure activity in the new year and slower consumer activity due to the decreased value of houses. Closer to home, Gin flagged the housing market, lingering impacts of oil and gas prices and the City of San Diego's fiscal problems as potential drags on the economy. Based on these factors, Gin predicted that San Diego's economy would be weaker in 2007 than it was in 2006, particularly during the first half of the year. The bright spots, he said, would be the health care and leisure and hospitality industries.
Wells Fargo senior economist Dr. Scott Anderson presented a more middle of the road view than either of the previous presenters, suggesting that, while economic indicators at the national and local levels had suffered in the last year, they were still solid historically speaking and beginning to show signs of a rebound.
A lively Q&A session, moderated by George Chamberlin, wrapped up the conference.
"Going forward, we do think credit quality will continue to degrade next year," Anderson said. "Foreclosures and delinquency rates will probably continue to rise, but it's important to note that we're coming from very good levels historically. The foreclosure rate in the state of California is only a little over 1 percent. In fact, California until very recently had some of the best credit quality in the country because of the huge run-up in housing that we've seen over the past five years."
And while the housing market had admittedly seen better days, Anderson said, he was encouraged by signs of stabilization.
"We are seeing growing signs that the housing market is indeed stabilizing. "Chairman Greenspan has been on the wires saying that we're closer to the end of the housing decline. That's what we would suspect as well. We're seeing our mortgage applications starting to pick up. Purchase originations are up over 10 percent over the past month and continue to accelerate. Inventories seem to have peaked at pretty high levels, but certainly, we've been there before; it's not something we can't work down."
Anderson said that the Wells Fargo forecast calls for housing starts to drop about 25 percent peak-to-trough, bottoming out sometime in the first quarter of 2007 and staying steady at a lower pace of growth after that. Anderson added that he and his colleagues are relatively optimistic that GDP growth has a good chance of bouncing back in the early portion of 2007, as the drag from the housing market dissipates. "Why are we so optimistic?" Anderson posed, "because there's been no real wealth destruction."
In a panel discussion, Tom Redwitz, president of Laing Luxury Homes, reported no slowdown in the sale of his highest-priced properties — those in the $6 million to $9 million range. Geoff Mountain, chairman and CEO of RE/MAX Associates, said that a natural market correction was under way, which would weed out market speculators and conditional real estate licensees.
Joshua Wilton, an undergraduate student who is scheduled to graduate in 2007, has been selected as the 12th recipient of the Daniel B. Woodruff Memorial Scholarship. The Woodruff scholarship was created to honor Dan Woodruff, a USD Class of '98 grad, who died of cancer at the age of 27. Each semester, the $2,500 scholarship is awarded to the most outstanding student pursuing real estate as a career profession. Scholarship recipients not only must have strong academic credentials, but also a personal attribute or set of circumstances that truly sets them apart.
Joshua will graduate with a bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis in real estate and finance. He received his associate's degree from New Mexico Military Institute in 1997 and was a member of the U.S. Navy's Special Operations Unit from 2000-04. His USD schooling has been particularly challenging during the past year as he struggled with his wife's health issues. He is considering enrolling in the MSRE program in the fall of 2007 and also is working on launching a real estate-related business.
Dr. Charles Tu Nominated for Lambda Alpha International
Dr. Charles Tu, associate professor of real estate in the Burnham-Moores Center, has been nominated for membership in Lambda Alpha International, an honorary real estate economics society founded in 1930 by Richard T. Ely.
Individuals who have made notable contributions to the study and ethical practice of land use are invited to join Lambda Alpha International. The criteria for membership, which is by invitation only, specify that nominees have:
achieved professional distinction, with a minimum of 10 years of work experience;
made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of land economics; and
distinguished themselves in the community through public service.
The society is a catalyst for the advancement of land economics by facilitating the interaction of members who have distinguished themselves in their professions, their communities, and through academic achievements.
The Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate is committed to delivering outstanding education, industry outreach, career placement, and research services to advance socially responsible leadership in real estate.
University of San Diego, 5998 Alcalá Park, San Diego, CA 92110-2492