Why It Makes Sense to Buy a Home Now

Many of the critical factors for a recovery in housing prices are in place. The drop in housing prices, coupled with the current low mortgage interest rates, has brought affordability back into alignment with historical ranges in most markets. Unemployment levels appear to have bottomed out, and a growing number of real estate economic indicators also suggest that, on a national level, we're also at, near, or just past the bottom of housing prices. Mortgage interest rates remain near all time lows. In many areas, today's buyers have the best opportunity to choose from a very large home inventory at the lowest prices. Nonetheless, there is a great variance among local housing markets, and some may be looking at further declines in home values, perhaps even double digit drops, before prices hit bottom.

Consumer confidence will play a big role in any housing recovery. According to a June and July survey by Fannie Mae, 70% of Americans think it is a good time to buy a house, an increase of 6% responding to the same question in a similar survey conducted in January 2010. Not surprisingly, 83% also think now is a bad time to sell. Those surveyed are also becoming more optimistic about home values;78% think that home prices will either remain stable or increase next year; a 5% increase over the January survey.

Mortgage rates will also play a big role in the housing recovery. They are very low by historic standards today. Importantly, Federal Reserve policies intended to prevent a double dip recession are helping to keep mortgage interest rates low, and are likely to remain in place for some time. The slow recovery of the business sector, while not encouraging from an employment standpoint, also means that there will be less upward pressure on interest rates in the near future.

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