Wednesday, August 20, 2008

First-time buyers - Is it time to strike while the iron's hot?

  1. Biggest buyers market in a generation
  2. Mortgage rates still at historic lows
  3. Housing stimulus bill provides up to $7500 tax credit
  4. FHA loans readily available with 3% down (3.5% after Jan. 1, 2009) and increased ceilings

These are just some of the incentives that first-time buyers have to buy a home now. Not to mention the fact that with the number of foreclosures on the market, that many homes can be bought at less than replacement costs.

So the question becomes - if not now, when?

Media pundits and many economists are saying we aren't at bottom yet and aren't likely to see it until 2009, but like the stock market, you don't really know until after the fact. Rather than trying to time the market, buyers should evaluate a decision to purchase based on their existing situation and whether it makes economic sense.

A fair concern of any buyer would be - "if I buy now, might the value of my new home decrease?" Well, like usual, it depends. Cincinnati has already been cited as one of the most stable markets in the U.S., but even within our metro area there are pockets where home prices have both decreased and increased. If you are planning for the long-term and making common sense financial decisions, then the risk of declining prices is a marginal concern.

If you have been thinking about buying a home, you need to talk to your real estate professional and see if you can take advantage of the current market. Each individual's situation is different and a knowledgeable professional will help evaluate what makes sense for you.

For more information, see the RE/MAX Unlimited site on first-time buyer programs.

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