The State of Real Estate
ACCORDING TO THE U.S. Department of Commerce, for the month of March 2008, the median sale price of a U.S. home was down 13.3 percent from March 2007. For the same month, sales of new homes dropped to the lowest level since October 1991. Regionally, the Northeast was hardest hit with sales down almost 20 percent when compared to the same month the previous year. The news is not rosy, and while experts differ in their opinion on how bad the housing crisis will get, there is no denying the housing industry slowdown is having and will continue to have a ripple effect on other markets.
For promotional product professionals, a slower-than-normal housing market can cause some of their biggest clients, realtors and real estate agencies to change tactics, cut corners and look to save money wherever possible. Suddenly, long-standing accounts can start to run dry and normally active customers grow skittish at the mere sight of a product proposal. In light of this, Promo Marketing turned to Sheila Curtis, sales agent and sales manager of Glenside, Pennsylvania-based Prudential Reddington Realtors, for a conversation about the industry, distributors and how they can mitigate any slowdown due to a slumping
Promo Marketing: When the housing market is slow, should agents spend less on advertising and giveaways?
Sheila Curtis: If possible, spend less but advertise more. When the market is slow [agents] need to bring more business in, so distributors should stress that agencies need to continue advertising. However, it might be time for some agencies to look at where the advertising dollars are going, and how they can best maximize spending, which is actually good for promotional products distributors. Agents still need their name out there, and [promotional products] can be a more reasonable way to do it than other advertising channels.