• Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors Celebrates a Strong 2023

    Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors celebrated 2023 at their annual awards event on January 26th. Chris Beason, President, and Caroline Ruhl, CEO, honored 197 award winners for their 2023 achievements.  Over 300 agents, staff, and affiliated business partners cheered on their co-workers during the celebration.
    “In a year that presented its fair share of challenges, we not only rose to the occasion but also achieved some remarkable results. Increasing market share and closing over $1 billion in sales volume despite a challenging market is a testament to our team's resilience," said Chris Beason, President, at the awards ceremony. "In a market where customers increasingly seek quality and expertise, we've been there to guide and support them through some of the most significant decisions of their lives… Our success is not solely measured in numbers but in our profound impact on our clients’ lives, helping them realize their dreams and navigate complex transactions with empathy and expertise… As we look forward to 2024, we are filled with optimism. The current market trends, including an increase in home sales, more inventory, and sustainable appreciation, paint an encouraging picture for the year ahead."
    Top Office Awards in the Clinton Office were presented to:

    • Sandy Jo Huizenga was honored with the Excellence in Service Award for receiving the highest client service rating in the Clinton Office. Sandy Jo also received the Nelson Brothers Agency Award.
    • Kris Whalen received the Top Lister Award, Top Sales Award and the Top Referral Associate Award for the Clinton Office 
    • Hannah Peart received the Top Ruhl Mortgage Award for the Clinton Office
    • Liz Nash received the Community Involvement Award for the Clinton Office.
    There is a complete list of all award winners on Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors’ website at www.RuhlHomes.com/News.

    Ruhl shared with her team the company’s results in 2023, and
    1. Residential Sales Volume: Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors sales volume in 2023 was $1,001,291,064, down 13.5% from 2022.
    2. Number of Properties Sold: Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors sold 4,390 properties in 2023, as either listing agent or selling agent. This was 16.5% fewer transactions than in 2022.
    3. Revenue: Revenue in a real estate company is primarily gross commission income (GCI). Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors 2023 GCI was $29,479,191 down 12.1% from 2022.
    4. New Listings Taken: Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors listed 2,580 properties for sale in 2023.
    5. Nationally Ranked per Agent Productivity: On average our agents closed 14.0 transactions in 2023, which is more than double the national average for per agent productivity. 
    1. Great Agents and Staff: Ruhl&Ruhl ended 2023 with 313 residential agents. In addition, 65 employees work for the company. Midwest Referral, an affiliated company, has 116 agents who refer business to Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors.
    1. Ruhl Property Management: Ruhl Property Management manages 141 properties (183 units) and 3 HOA’s (91 units). They acquired 135 new properties in 2023: 72 for property management and 63 for tenant placement. They executed 117 lease agreements and received 50 agent referrals for owners or tenants.
    2. Ruhl Mortgage: Ruhl Mortgage closed $133,350,976 in loan volume, which was generated by 614 loans. 91% were purchase loans and 9% were refinances. Ruhl Mortgage employs 20 staff members, including 4 loan officers, 2 loan officer assistants, 2 in-house underwriters, and 2 processors, plus other management and staff.
    3. Insurance Referrals Sold: Ruhl&Ruhl agents referred clients resulting in 539 policies being sold by the Nelson Brothers Agency, Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors’ affiliated insurance company has 20 sales agents and 21 staff members.
    4. Commercial Sales Volume: NAI Ruhl Commercial Company, a joint venture with Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors, sold $91 million in commercial real estate in 2023. They have 16 commercial agents and 16 staff members. NAI Ruhl Property Management manages 1.808 million square feet of space, 405 HOA units, and 80 acres of land.
    Regional Real Estate Forecast for 2024
    1. Homes Will Continue to Appreciate in Our Region
    Homes appreciated between 4.5% - 8.0% in our markets year over year. Fannie Mae’s Home Price Expectation survey, which polls over 100 housing experts, forecasts we finished 2023 with 5.92% appreciation and they project 2.35% appreciation in 2024.                             
    “With mortgage rates dropping, demand for homes in early 2024 is likely to be strong and will again put pressure on prices. Most markets will continue to reach new home price highs over the course of 2024” Selma Hepp, Chief Economist, CoreLogic
    1. Home Sales Will Rise in 2024
    Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR (National Association of Realtors) predicts that existing home sales will be up 13.5% in 2024 from 2023. He states “markets in the Midwest will experience gains from being the most affordable region.” See details in the chart below. 
    Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors is budgeting for a 6.7% increase in number of solds in 2024,- which may be a conservative projection for our region if mortgage rates continue to fall. Realtor.com agrees: “...affordable markets in the Midwest are expected to rebound from a significant sales decline in 2023.”
    1. Mortgage Rates May Trend Down, But Will Be Volatile
    “Mortgage rates more than doubled since early 2021, reaching a 20 year high of around 8% in 2023. We have recently seen rates fluctuate from the upper 5% range to the upper 6% range.
    “It also appears that mortgage rates are now falling again. They will almost certainly not fall to pandemic lows, although we may soon see rates under 6.0%, which would be low by pre-Great Recession standards” – Dean Baker, Senior Economist, Center for Economic Research.
    As of January 22 mortgage rates were as follows:
    • 15-year Conventional Fixed..................5.500%
    • 30-Year Conventional Fixed..................6.000%
    • FHA 30-Year Fixed................................5.875%
    • VA 30-Year Fixed..................................5.875%
    • USDA/RD..............................................6.000%
    • 30-Year Jumbo......................................6.375%
    1. More Homes Will Be Listed For Sale – Inventory Will Grow
    We started 2024 with 4% more listings across the region. Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors active listing inventory was up 12% on January 16, compared to the same week last year. There is pent up selling demand. People who own properties and wanted to move, but held off due to their existing low interest rate mortgages, are 
    experiencing life changing events that necessitate changing houses. Events such 
    as marriage, divorce, death, or relocating for a job change can require a move.
    “We might be at peak “lock-in effect”. Some move-up or lifestyle sellers might be coming to terms with the fact 3% and 4% mortgage rates aren’t returning anytime 
    soon… If the “lock-in effect” eases up further in 2024…it could help boost existing home sales from the very low levels experienced at the end of 2023,” Lance Lambert, Founder, ResiClub
    People can’t postpone moving indefinitely. Even another small fall in rates could be the enticement owners need to put their homes on the market. Builders will also continue to increase inventory.
    “Housing inventory is expected to rise by around 30% as more sellers begin to list after delaying selling over the past two years,” According to Dr. Yun of the NAR.
    1. Still a Seller’s Market
    It is still a seller’s market in all of our markets, except Iowa City. A seller’s market is less than 4 months of inventory, a balanced market is 4-6 months of inventory, which favors buyers and sellers equally.
    The real estate market is poised for an uptick of both buyers and sellers in 2024. We’ll start to bridge the gap between supply and demand and bring about a more dynamic and balanced marketplace.
    About Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors
    A family-owned company since 1862, Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors has grown to 313 sales Associates, 65 employees, and ten offices, selling more than 5,200 homes in eastern Iowa, northwest Illinois, and southwest Wisconsin. The company has residential sales offices in Bettendorf, Burlington, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Davenport, DeWitt, Dubuque, Iowa City, and Muscatine Iowa; and in Moline, Illinois. For more information on Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors, visit their website at www.RuhlHomes.com.