I’ve seen a lot of folks predicting a lot of things about the housing market. First, know that real estate is local. Market conditions in other parts of the country will change differently than our area. I feel it’s impossible to “peg” the market in general as far as what’s going to happen. However, in our area, I see a lot of optimism for this year. Let’s take a look at the factors:
There hasn’t been a lot of market activity over the past couple years. Buyers have been waiting for a good deal. Foreclosures are moving briskly but there’s an ever-plentiful supply. This has made it difficult to impossible for existing home owners to move. This pressure has created pent-up demand in the market.
Mortgage rates are extremely low right now. Close to the levels they were back in 2005 before Greenspan messed them all up. Lenders have tightened restrictions but those that can buy will be getting a good deal on loan rates.
There is increasing national attention being put on the housing crisis and the extreme number of foreclosures. The government may be stepping in at some point this year to stem the tide of foreclosures. Once the foreclosures slow, values will begin to rise.
We’re now entering the spring market – a naturally busy time. This should reduce inventory as buyers begin to take up the slack. If the number of foreclosures begins to slow, we’re going to see a further reduction in inventory for the fall. This points to the possibility of an uptick in the market beginning this fall. I predict conditions will remain flat during the spring and summer as the existing inventory begins to be eaten up by buyer demand but this fall we should see a slightly better market.
What does this mean for home buyers? If you haven’t yet entered the housing market, now is the time. You want to buy when the market is at or close to bottom – not after it has started to recover. If you’re looking for the point at where there’s the biggest inventory at the lowest prices, put yourself in the position to purchase this spring and summer.