Despite this most recent economic downturn and real estate crisis, owning a home remains a big part of the American Dream. It’s not like we haven’t seen ups and downs before. And we’ve always recovered. The market will recover. In some parts of the nation we are already seeing the signs, such as less inventory and an increase in buyer activity, including multiple offers. Yes! That is not a typo. Multiple offers! This is what happens when you price a home right, but that’s an entirely different discussion for another day.
Windermere Real Estate’s most recent monthly market update for the greater Metro Seattle area shows that in October 2011, standing inventory declined by 6% while pending sales increased by 3%. While we’ve heard time and time again that “now” is the time to buy, now may also be a good time to sell. Of course, the decision to sell in any type of market depends on your individual real estate needs and goals.
As well as a decline in inventory (good for sellers), sales prices in October for single-family homes continued a gradual four-month decline. This indicates an ongoing opportunity for buyers.
A recent article by Quicken Loans discusses The Top 5 Reasons To Buyer A Home in 2012. This article begins by reminding buyers that the American Dream of homeownership is a feasible aspiration in this new year. It also reiterates a point above, which is that the market will indeed make a recovery. It states that the housing market often moves in cycles and while there is some uncertainty among consumers as to when home values will increase, we can be certain that they will.
Quicken’s top five reasons to buy a home this year include:
- Appreciation – “Buying a home now (at the current rates) can almost ensure your home’s appreciation in the future.”
- Property Tax Deductions – “For income tax purposes, real estate property taxes for a vacation home and first home are fully deductible.”
- Preferential Tax Treatment – “If you own your home for more than a year and receive more profit than the allowable exclusion after the sale of your home, the profit will be considered a capital asset.”
- Equity Building – “Equity builders usually select a home loan with a lower interest rate (and a shorter term loan such as a 15-year fixed) to help build equity faster.”
- Pride – “No matter who you are, homeownership is a purchase, commitment, and journey that’s sure to bring you pride.”
To read the complete article, click here.
Happy House Hunting in 2012!
If I had a penny for every time someone posed this question…well, I’d have a lot of pennies.
If you’re trying to time the market, stop! It simply isn’t going to happen. It’s impossible. Okay, maybe you’ll luck out. But chances are, you won’t. After all, the only way to know if we’ve hit bottom is when we see prices starting to go back up.
So, if you’re sitting on the fence debating when to jump off into whatever that scary stuff is on the other side, just remember, (1) it’s not that scary, and (2) wouldn’t you rather be on this side of the “curve” where you know the prices, know the interest rate (historically crazy low), and have the pick of the litter given the amount of inventory? It looks pretty appealing as compared to option No. 2, which is to be on the other side of the curve when it’s trending up, and who knows what interest rates will be doing and how many other buyers you’ll be competing with for the certainly fewer homes that will be on the market.
And if that doesn’t convince you, consider this little piece of real estate “food for thought”:
Interest rates today are roughly 3.875% versus the 6.25% they were at the 06/07 “height”. Figuring that every 1% decrease in interest rate is equivalent to a 10% increase in buying power, a buyer can afford approximately 24% more than they could just four years ago based on rates alone. Add to that the estimated drop in the market of 30%, and our purchasing power has never been stronger. Today we can buy 54% more home for the same monthly payment of four years ago.
Most people would say that 2011 wasn’t a great year for real estate. But the real question is, great for who? It can’t always be great for everyone, but inevitably is always great for someone. So maybe this past year wasn’t the most ideal for sellers, but if you bought in 2011, cheers to you. With historically low interest rates, lots of inventory to choose from, and competitive prices, 2011 was simply a great year to buy real estate.
No doubt 2012 will offer up much of the same for buyers, but interest rates and prices won’t remain this low forever. When deciding when the “right time to buy” is, remember that it’s impossible to time the market. After all, the only way we know that prices have hit bottom is when they start going back up. The same can be said for interest rates. Most buyers underestimate the effect that interest rates have on one’s buying power. It’s important to consider that for every 1% increase in interest rates, your buying power decreases by 10%. So don’t sit around waiting for that exact perfect time to buy when it could be now.