Pete Flaherty has been in the housing industry since landing a job in the field with his first post-college interview. Now 45, the Glenville resident and businessman is the owner of two firms — separate mortgage and real estate brokerages.
Over the years, Flaherty has seen his share of ups and downs in the real estate market. Housing news has been bleak lately for sure, but Flaherty says he’s optimistic that the tide is starting to turn, both nationally and locally.
“The worst is over,” says Flaherty, who has bachelor of science degree from Oswego State University. “If you don’t own a home, now is the time to buy.”
The Sunday Gazette caught up with the Syracuse native last week to discuss the state of the local housing market, the subprime mortgage meltdown and a little spring training baseball.
Q: What’s the name of your outfit?
A: ANY Mortgage LLC and Masters Realty LLC — I own both and practice both mortgages and real estate.
Q: What’s your take on the local housing market right now? Is the worst over, or are we in for more bad news in terms of falling prices?
A: If you are buying and selling, you buy low and sell low; this creates a wash. If you are just selling, this is not the ideal time to maximize value.
Q: What role does fear play in the national housing market? Are prospective buyers too afraid these days?
A: The media drives trends and puts a scare into buyers. The present market created a buying opportunity that you shouldn’t pass up. Buy low, sell high.
Q: What kind of local impact have you seen from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown?
A: Very little impact. Median prices are stable. The subprime affects people with very little down, weaker credit and those needing a jumbo mortgage.
Q: Are we in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market locally?
A: Buyer’s market
Q: What would you say to a prospective homebuyer who’s been sitting on the sidelines for the past few months? Is it time to buy?
A: You need to be in it to win it. You need to look now — if the right house comes along, buy it.
Q: Over your career, how many up-and-down cycles have you seen? Where does this most recent dip rate?
A: Three or four cycles. What goes up eventually comes down, and vice versa. A home purchase should be a longterm investment.
Q: Are local real estate agents being realistic in the pricing these days?
A: You price very close to where you want to sell.
Q: Where in the Capital Region do you see the greatest potential for growth in home sales over the next five years?
A: Malta, if AMD [Advanced Micro Devices] goes in [to build a computer chip plant in Luther Forest].
Q: City vs. suburb? Where do you see the biggest jump in sales?
A: City and mixed-use developments. Convenience is key.
Q: Saratoga Springs has been one of the hottest segments of the local market for the past 10 years, but what’s next? Do you see any of the other cities enjoying a similar kind of renaissance?
A: I hope it is Glenville [where he lives].
Q: What do you think about condos? Would you recommend it to any particular demographic category?
A: Condos, townhouses are great for many people because there is less maintenance. Less maintenance appeals to the busy, elderly, people likely to get relocated, etc.
Q: What’s your favorite book involving the world of real estate and homes?
A: “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent: It’s Not About the Money . . . It’s About Being the Best You Can Be!” [by Gary Keller].
Q: Why do you like it?
A: The author gets it!
Q: Will the choice of our next president impact the housing market, both nationally or locally?
A: You got me!
Q: If you were named Housing Czar by the next president, what wouold be your first order of business?
A: Less banking regulation and more mandatory consumer education on mortgages (especially subprime type products).
Q: In 25 years, where will the region’s hottest real estate spot be?
Q: Will you be living (and owning) there yourself?
Q: With spring training back in swing, Yankees or Red Sox?