I thought this article on MSN was a great follow up to the information I shared with you recently on the Woodland Park real estate market. It is especially insightful for those buyers who may be trying to "time" the market to buy at the "bottom". There is a great reference to Glenwood Springs, CO in here. You could substitute Woodland Park and the very same would apply. There are some good general guidelines mentioned in the article for deciding whether it's a good time to buy or sell. Keep in mind as you evaluate Woodland Park that you need to own the home an average of 2 years to break even (after selling costs and market conditions are factored in).
I have copied a portion of the article below for you review. If you would like to read it entirely simply copy this link to your browser: http://realestate.msn.com/Buying/Article2.aspx?cp-documentid=6112643>1=10932
Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can answer questions or assist you in any way.
The latest housing headlines are far from encouraging: Foreclosures are up, home prices are down and new-home sales are at record lows. All this dismal news has many buyers sitting on the sidelines, afraid to make a move. But, economists say, waiting for the bottom may not be the smartest strategy.
Calling the market low is a difficult task, and it's most often spotted in the rear-view mirror. For one thing, there's no agreement on when the U.S. real-estate market will officially touch bottom. If you believe the National Association of Realtors, it will happen later this year. Investment bank Merrill Lynch is much more pessimistic, predicting that U.S. home prices will drop another 15% this year and 10% in 2009, with perhaps even more depreciation in 2010.
But for many buyers, there's no real need to wait for the market as a whole to officially bottom out, says Delores Conway, director of the Casden Forecast at the University of Southern California's Lusk Center for Real Estate. "Real estate is local," Conway says, and therefore what constitutes the bottom for the country is meaningless for those looking to buy and sell homes in their own neighborhoods. (My thoughts exactly!)
Prices in many markets have not yet hit their lowest point, but they aren't that far off. And in other areas, only the pace of sales has been affected; prices have held firm or gone up.
Waiting for the absolute bottom to hit before buying puts you at risk of missing it and getting caught up in a market on the upswing. Plus, for some first-time home buyers, owning simply makes better economic sense than renting.
Downturn, what downturn?
Of course, in some parts of the country, there's no real reason to get cold feet about buying. Prices have ticked up slowly and are expected to continue that slow march for the foreseeable future. "We have not seen a downturn in our market," says Marianne Ackerman, of The Property Shop in Glenwood Springs, Colo.
Indeed, prices in this small community outside Aspen have been nudging up 5% a year unchecked for several years, thanks to a shortage of property suitable for development and a booming tourism market.
This appreciation prompted longtime Glenwood Springs resident Marianne Virgili -- who also heads the town's chamber of commerce -- to buy a parcel of land now, without the slightest bit of hesitation. "Prices are rising, so the best time to get in is now," Virgili says. She plans to start building a home on her lot in the spring.
Other markets that experienced healthy price increases in the latest quarterly sales data from the National Association of Realtors are Farmington, N.M.; Reading and Pittsburgh, Pa.; Columbia, S.C.; San Jose, Calif.; and Fargo and Bismarck, N.D.
"Just like the weather, there are large local variations in home prices," says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. Yun says that in his examination of last quarter's metro home prices, two-thirds of the markets posted price increases.
Realtor Tom Rhodes in Dallas says that he has seen sales slow a bit, but that prices in his market haven't dropped as they have elsewhere. "Some people read what's going on around the country and say maybe this is not the best time to buy," he says. But, "we've got a pretty strong market. Those headlines are coming out of Miami and Las Vegas."
There are plenty of markets in Texas, Kansas, Arkansas and the Midwest that are now starting to tick up. In these areas, this might be a great time to buy, with interest rates historically low, a fairly large inventory of properties to choose from and less chance of getting caught up in a bidding war, analysts say.
Houses and neighborhoods that hold their value
There will always be some people who need to move because of job relocations, expanding families or a need for better schools. In desirable neighborhoods, there's a price to pay for waiting. You have to ask yourself, "How greedy do I need to be?" says James Gaines, research economist with Texas A&M's Real Estate Center. "If (the price) goes down much more, you've got other people trying to buy it, even if it's not the absolute bottom." Then, you might end up in a bidding war, erasing the savings you thought you had achieved by waiting.
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