This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," July 11, 2005, that was edited for clarity.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: You know, in the middle of nature's fury taking hold of some Florida's most expensive real estate and, as you just heard from AccuWeather's Joe Bastardi, this could only be the beginning. Is Mother Nature giving real estate investors and other seekers a sign to sell?
Let us ask the CEO of Century 21, Tom Kunz, who joins us from Detroit, the site of this year's All Star Game.
What are you doing with the All Star Game, again, Tom? What, are you a sponsor or what?
TOM KUNZ, PRESIDENT & CEO, CENTURY 21: Well, actually, Neil, we sponsor the home run derby Monday night. So, we're all out here and just having a ball.
CAVUTO: OK. Good.
Let's talk about people that were not having a ball in the Gulf area. They survived Hurricane Dennis, but it was a wet and nasty storm. The feeling seems to be that we're going to see a lot more of these, and that means the people who have homes in and around the Florida area, the Gulf area, areas that have seen double-digit growth, that's going to slow as people become anxious. Do you agree with that?
KUNZ: Well, I'll tell you, Neil, last year, when we had the same series of hurricanes that were coming through, some very violent ones, I actually went down and visited all of our offices right after the hurricanes had hit.
And it was pretty interesting what I saw there, because what I saw is, first of all, obviously, our offices were trying to get up and running, you know, get power, get phones back in place. But the offices that had those things in place, the phones were ringing off the hook. There were always people that were looking to, you know, see if they could get a deal.
But, more importantly, the people who actually had put offers on homes before the hurricanes came through were still saying, OK, can we close on this? Are we ready to move forward? So, we saw a similar thing last year. Real estate was still strong in Florida.
And I suspect that, you know, once we get through this season and people start to rebuild and move on, we're going to probably see the same thing.
CAVUTO: What if we're in the middle of this new 10-year cycle of serious storms, though? Does that change your equation?
KUNZ: Well, you know, I guess I would have to look at that and say, you know, that storms have been hitting Florida and all through the Southern, Eastern coasts for a long, long period of time. And people still keep going back.
I mean, where there's sun, where there's water and where there's beach, people want to be at. And I think they'll continue to go back there. I don't see that people are going to just flock out of Florida because of hurricanes.
You know, I came from Southern California, and earthquakes were, you know, a thing that we just put up with in Southern California. And I think it will be the same thing that we'll see in Florida.
CAVUTO: I know you get asked about this a lot, housing bubble. The fact that so many people talk about it maybe is evidence that we don't have it.
But, having said that, does it worry you that some of these areas, particularly in Florida, where you're very big, have seen 30, 40 percent annual increases? That can't continue ad infinitum, right?
KUNZ: Well, and you're right. And I think, over a period of time, we're going to probably see some adjustments in the marketplace.
But it's still real strong at this point. You have got a good economy moving. We have got good, strong job marketplaces. Interest rates are still low.
But, you know, the thing that I would say to anybody that's looking for a home right now is that it's probably more important right now to get a professional real estate agent that can actually sit down with you and ask the right questions to make sure that you're getting into the property that you should and that it's getting financed right.
CAVUTO: Yes, but it's more than getting into the property you should. Are you getting in there at a bargain-basement rate or, with all of these new interest-only mortgages and other flavor of loans out there, do you fear that some people are getting in over their heads?
KUNZ: Well, and, again, it goes back to what I said, Neil.
I think that that's even more importantly — you look at all of the finance products that we have now, and, you know, it's nothing new. We have more now than we had before. But I can remember in the '70s when they used to — FHA had a 245-D, which was kind of a creative financing program.
I think what happens today is, is that the consumer has an opportunity to really sit down and, if they work with professionals, like our people at Century 21, and they can get them to professional mortgage people, be able to ask the right questions, if there's enough financing tools out there that can actually meet their specific needs.
So, it's almost like getting it tailored to the specific needs of the consumer that is there. How long are you going to be on your job? How long are you going to stay in this area? How long are you going to keep your house? And if you start looking at those things, then it gives you the opportunity to look at different financing packages.
CAVUTO: All right, Tom, good luck at the home run derby tonight.
KUNZ: Well, we'll have a heck of a lot of fun out here, Neil. Wish you were out here with us. And one lucky person is going to walk away tonight with $250,000 that's going towards the purchase of a home. So, hope you tune us in and watch it.
CAVUTO: All right. We'll see what happens.
Tom, thank you again. Be well.
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