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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

7 Reasons Why Now Is The Best Time To Buy a Home

Blogging From The Desk of Alicia Lagarde Craig

1. Homes have never been more affordable.

Do you realize that today people are buying houses at the same prices they were ten years ago? It's like having a time machine: you get to go back and buy at yesterday's prices today. One of the advantages of buying at the lower end of the market is that in a few years it will appreciate more than homes that are more expensive. Homes that now cost $100,000 are likely to appreciate to between $130,000 and $150,000, while homes starting at the $500,000 won't reach $650,000-$700,000 in the same time frame. That's because there is less demand the higher you go. Demand drives price increases and, as the market improves, demand for lower price points will go up faster than at the higher end.

2. Mortgage rates are at rock bottom and won't stay there forever.

The national average on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 4.36% in August 2010 - lower than it's been in the past half century. Once rates start going up again, they can go up fast - creating a major impact on monthly finances. Do you know that if your interest goes up 1%, your monthly payment will go up 10%? What's more likely? Home values dropping 10% or interest rates going up 1%?

3. Lenders are back in the game!

The final quarter of 2009's financial meltdown led to a sense that financing had dried up, but mortgage funds are alive and available. The majority of banks make money by making loans - they simply have to get back in the game. Most people don't know that it is still possible to get a loan with as little as 0-3% down where your credit score isn't the only determining factor.

4. Prices are trending back up

Every major price index points to a housing market that has hit bottom and is moving in a positive direction. After thirty months of declining values, home prices appear to be stable or appreciating in nearly every U.S. market. Locally, in the New Orleans Uptown market, prices are trending back up and sellers are beginning to see the shift from a buyer's market to a seller's market, meaning that sellers are not willing to make the concessions that they use to make in the past and they are also starting to see competing offers from different buyers on their homes.

5. Sellers are motivated!

When speaking of the New Orleans Metropolitan Area (i.e. Lakeview/Lakefront, Metairie, Mid-City, The Northshore), Supply now exceeds demand and buyers have the upper hand. This means lots of choices, lots of negotiating power and smart sellers fiercely competing by offering great prices and excellent conditions.

6. Ownership costs are dropping below rental costs!

The recent downturn in the housing market resulted in a drop in rental rates, but rents are back on the rise while the cost of home ownership has dropped.

Did you know that everyone is buying real estate, just not necessarily for themselves? If you are renting, you are buying real estate for your landlord. Wouldn't you rather be buying it for yourself?

7. Home ownership remains at the core of the American Dream

A recent Fannie Mae study reveals that the majority of Americans still aspire to own a home.

-Owning a home is critical to financial stability and wealth building.

-A home serves as a forced savings account and provides a solid asset, as well as a place to live.

-Despite the recent market upheaval, the vast majority of Americans still consider home ownership to be important to the economy and preferable to renting.

-Since the end of World War II, promoting home ownership has been high on the list of the federal government's priorities, and will continue to be so.

If you need assistance in real estate, contact Alicia Lagarde Craig or Jeff Craig @ 504.352.6190 or 504.382.3724.

References: KW Seize the Market Action Book