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Field Report: The 2008 Presidential Campaign

With Sen. Barack Obama talking about raising long-term capital gains tax from the current rate of 15 percent, it should come as no surprise that some sellers might be a bit more motivated to unload property in the near future.

With Sen. Barack Obama talking about raising long-term capital gains tax from the current rate of 15 percent, it should come as no surprise that some sellers might be a bit more motivated to unload property in the near future. “That’s the big problem—uncertainty from government and economy,” Charlie Israel of Outdoor Investment in Birmingham says.

Kerry Mormann is seeing a similar dearth of lower-end buyers in California. Not that he has a lot of lower-end properties. Mormann specializes in ranches, vineyards, and other land in and around Santa Barbara County. In 2007, he sold over $200 million in property, but he doesn’t expect his 2008 numbers to be near that total. Still, he has no shortage of high-end buyers.

“The beginning of the 2008—January and February—we saw very good activity in the upper-end and unique properties,” Mormann says. “It’s all about location. There’s a limited supply, and there’s active demand. But there’s no question there’s been a slowing in last few months. There’s just no sense of urgency like there was.” Adding to the problem is the predominance of bad economic news. “There’s just a lot of uncertainty—the election, world affairs, the economy—too many what-ifs,” he says.

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