Changing Economy, Changing Values
As an appraiser, I am asked lots of questions especially about values followed by “what is it?” Many times the “what is it?” can be answered more directly than what is today’s value! Just as the economic environment has challenged the status quo from banking to real estate, the same applies to your household contents; the values have changed and in some cases rather dramatically: lower.
Changes are reflected in company closings and massive sell-offs of inventory. Now is the time to buy, but it is not a time to sell. For example, many may not know that Goebel the makers of your famous Hummels has closed its manufacturing doors as of October 31, 2008; however, sales will continue in Rodental, Germany as long as supplies last. Most Hummel conventions such as the M.I. Hummel Club Center in Germany have canceled its 2008 International Convention, but the USA convention for 2009 is still on. What this means? Your Hummel’s have lost more value, at least for awhile.
Fenton Glass, an American company founded in 1905, is in a serious struggle to stay in business. A July announcement stated “we will close in October 2008”; however, when the news hit the streets, orders went up and the closure date was temporally halted. But, the picture is still grim: import competition, customer’s drop in discretionary incomes, company debt, falling values of Fenton Glass, changing consumer tastes, and an over-supply still challenge the company’s survival. It, like Hummel, maybe come passé.
As the economy tends to spiral almost out of control, there are other changes happening in the disposal of personal property. The popular venue of estate sales has taken a hit. Many buyers wait until the second day to grab the 50% off items or haggle and bargain for deeper discounts which ultimately affects the net proceeds for the estate. Furniture, along with most collectibles, has lost much of its value because discretionary income is being guarded with greater care. Some estate sale specialists will no longer take an estate sale for less than a $1,500.00 off the top to help guarantee and finance their services.
Auctions are also suffering. Barrett Jackson the high end car auction in Scottsdale has moved to Las Vegas in hopes that the casino mentality will help propel more buyers to let loose of more cash as the high end cars come on the block. Sadly, the buyers for such cars are holding out of the past buying frenzy because they have seen the values of those high end cars topple by as much as 60% of what they were just a year ago. Local auction houses are suffering the same fate: lots of merchandise, fewer buyers with less cash, and lower values for everything from new furniture to quality vintage and antique items. Want a good buy? Then head off to your local Sun City auction and most likely beat the estate sale price.
Times are a changing and we have to adapt whether we like it or not. Values rise and fall, and hopefully you can catch a bargain or two while holding on to what you have because historically, the pendulum will swing once again.