National Signing Day

The first Wednesday in February, known as National Signing Day when high school seniors are allowed to sign binding National Letters of Intent for college sports.  The media annually follow the happenings of the day related to football closely.

This year Florida were the hungry-hungry-hippos gobbling up blue chip players, despite the uncertainty in the offseason regarding the retirement, then leave of absense, of head coach Urban Meyers’.  This was a class for the history books, seeing Florida nab 17 kids ranked in the nation’s top 150.

Florida was significantly trailed by Texas and Alabama, who competed in the BCS Championship last month, and everyone else for that matter.

Tennessee and Southern California came away with top 10 recruiting classes despite coaching changes that saw Lane Kiffen leave Nashville for Pasadena.  However, other teams in the Pac-10, such as UCLA, Cal, Oregon, and Washington, also had great days which bodes well for the often criticized conference that has been dominated recently by the USC Trojans.

Ohio State had less than stellar day due to it’s Signing Day last year, which saw coach Jim Tressel bring in just about every recruit he wanted.  Notre Dame had an okay day, as Brian Kelly took over as coach for the fired Charlie Weis.

Here’s how the top 10 classes shake up, according to   1. Florida   2. Oklahoma   3. Texas   4. Alabama   5. USC   6. Auburn   7. LSU   8. UCLA   9. Penn State   10. Florida State

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Northern Virginia Real Estate

Egypt Win 2010 Africa Cup of Nations

Yesterday, January 31, Egypt won the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations held in Angola. As reported in an earlier post, this international soccer tournament determine’s the continents best national team. Egypt have succesfully the title they won in 2008 making this their seventh championship, despite not qualifying for the World Cup finals being held this summer.

Ghana finished second after losing to Egypt by a score of 1-0. Nigeria beat Algeria 1-0 in the consolation game to finish in third place.

Egyptian players also took home all three individual awards as Ahmed Hassan was named Player of the Tournament, Essam El-Hadary won Goalkeeper of the Tournament, and Geddo was the Top Scorer of the Tournament as well, finishing with five goals.

The Best XI, selected by the tournament’s Technical Study Group, were goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary, defenders Madjid Bougherra of Algeria, Wael Gomaa of Egypt, and Mabina of Angola, midfielders Ahmed Hassan, Ahmed Fathy of Egypt, Peter Odemwingie of Nigeria, and Alexandre Song of Cameroon, and forwards Asamoah Gyan of Ghana, Mohammad Zidan of Egypt, and Flavio of Angola. Substitutes named were Richard Kingston (Ghana), Geddo, Emmanuel Mbola (Zambia), Karim Ziani (Algeria), Achille Emana (Cameroon), Kwadwo Asamoah (Ghana), Seydou Keita (Mali), Andre Ayew (Ghana), Eric Mouloungui (Gabon), Chindedu Obasi (Nigeria), Salomon Kalou (Ivory Coast), and Jacob Mulenga (Zambia).

The 28th African Cup of Nations will be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea in 2012.

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Northern Virginia Real Estate

2010 Real Estate Predictions

Here’s what the professionals say:

The 2010 market will be different than any real estate professional has ever seen. New approaches and new skills will be required to succeed.  Generational differences and how to work with them will be a critical skill for survival and success.  Realtor associations will need to change their business model and their services to adapt to the rapidly changing market.  Pam MacConnell, Association executive, West Volusia Association of Realtors, Orange City, Florida.

While almost everyone actively involved in the real estate industry was excited to see the continuation of the tax credits through April 30, 2010, for homes that close by June 30, we expect there to be a lot of buyer caution and concern come May 1, when the benefits expire. No one is sure how much volume came from moving renters off the fence and how much came from just moving volume up following this year’s tax credit. It’s still unclear what effect the extension will have on the market. May and June pending sales are going to be critical months to really understand the health of the housing market.  Patrick Lashinsky, Chief executive officer, ZipRealty, Emeryville, California.

The buzzword for agents in 2010 will continue to be responsiveness. Buyers and sellers who have been on the sidelines are going to be anxious to get into the market as it starts to pick up, and they will expect their agents to be one step ahead of them. Customers will continue to raise the bar on response time. They used to expect agents to respond within 24 hours. Today, with mobile devices, (they expect a response) in just hours.  Leslie Tyler, Vice president of marketing, ZipRealty, Emeryville, California.

Sales in Michigan will remain steady. Inventory levels will continue to drop but at a slower pace. With that the median sales prices will also rise.  Karen S. Kage, Chief executive officer, realcomp II Ltd, Farmington Hills, Michigan.

More mobile applications that involve brokers, consumers and real estate-related services.  Lauren Emery, Chief executive officer, Information and Real Estate Services LLC, Loveland, Colorado.

The market, unlike 2009, will be predictable.  We will have a spring market starting in January: There is pent-up demand; first-time buyers will want to take advantage of the tax incentive and the $6,500 tax credit for move-up/retrenching buyers will also help. I also predict that the industry will lose at least 10 percent of its firms and salespeople. That will be good for the industry.  Liberal newspapers will try to make things seem better (to support the current administration and Democrats’ re-election of congressmen), the economy will stabilize, the health care debate will be behind us, interests rates will flatten, employment will get a little better, Wall Street numbers will continue to look better, home prices will stabilize, consumers will feel better. Real estate unit sales in Connecticut will be up 12 percent and flat in Rhode Island.  Peter Helie, Chairman and chief executive officer, Prudential Connecticut Realty, Rocky Hill, Connecticut.

The first quarter will be up and strong in most areas and price ranges. The market will level off by summer. Unit sales will continue to be greater than volume. With current lower inventory levels we will have difficulty meeting demand in the $150,000 to $300,000 range for many neighborhoods.  There will be greater activity in the $300,000-plus market as more homeowners realize the stimulus is for them. The high-end luxury market has had an increase over the last 60 days. This will continue in spurts throughout 2010. Overall, the market will have swings but will show increases in most areas.  Helen Hanna Casey, President, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

2010 will be very similar to 2009. Unit activity will be up slightly and prices will decline slightly. The net is even.  Stephen W. Baird, President and chief executive officer, Baird & Warner Inc, Chicago, Illinois.

The conditions are set for a surge of sales activity heading into 2010 thanks to historically low interest rates, adjusted home prices, and the extended/expanded Federal Housing Tax Credit. After the expiration of the tax credit in April 2010, we can expect to see a dip in sales, but there are some things the government can do to ease this transition.  J. Lennox Scott, Chairman and chief executive officer, John L. Scott Real Estate, Seattle, Washington

We don’t generally make predictions; we leave that to the economists. But here are two: If we continue to “eat at the trough” of expanding federal programs, our economy will suffer well into the future. And the tired, unwieldy, nondescript, disparate multiple listing service will get rebranded.  Steve Sullivan, Chief executive officer, Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Activity in the first half of 2010 may be artificially robust due to the tax credits, and the activity in the remainder of the year will help determine how strong the housing recovery is.  Mae Hassman, Chief executive officer, Missoula Organization of Realtors, Missoula, Montana.

For consumers, Realtor ratings in 2010 will become as routine as rating hotels, restaurants and movies is now.  Bob Hale, President and chief executive officer, Houston Association of Realtors, Houston, Texas.

I think on the conservative side the first two quarters may have a slow start but the market will pick up in the third quarter.  Annie Ives, Chief executive officer , Combined Los Angeles/Westside MLS, Los Angeles, California.

My prediction for 2010 is not a bright one. I expect our association membership will drop by 15 percent. I have members who have been in the business more than two years who say they cannot make their dues for next year. We ran a sales report of the agents who are selling, and (the ones receiving referrals) from past clients have remained the top sales agents. They have the experience from past declining markets over the years.  Shirley Skerbelis, Executive vice president, The Inland Gateway Association of Realtors, Corona, California.

The world won’t end. Real estate agents and brokers who have an open mind, are willing to work very hard, put their clients interest first, and — above all — adapt and evolve will find great success and satisfaction in this amazing industry.  Matt Case, Associate broker, Director of support services, Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors.

The Mike Webb Team:
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Northern Virginia Real Estate