Are you waiting for the market to bottom out? What will you do if the interest rates shoot up as prices fall? Will you really be able to take advantage of the lowest prices if the money you have to borrow for the house costs more?
The Washington Post today reported that mortgage rates are at their lowest rate on record for the second consecutive week. (See the article: http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=62841288842&h=2Itbj&u=cBrXG&ref=mf)
But while the real estate market has definitely picked up in the last 30 days with activity from first-time home buyers, move-up buyers are still sitting on the fence, waiting for prices to fall even lower than they are now.
Let's look at the damage this can do and why a lower rate can stretch your dollar further than a lower price.
According to this chart, which was put together by a fellow agent with my company who also teaches mathematics at the College of Charleston, if you can afford a monthly mortgage payment of $1231.43, you can afford a $200k house at a rate of 6.5%. But look at what that same payment could buy at 4.5%. In the far right column of the highlighted row we see that the same payment of $1231.43 can buy a $243k house. That's a lot more house!
So let's turn that around. Suppose you have your eye on a house that is priced today at $243k, but you want to wait to see if it drops $10-20k. It may eventually drop, but it may take that seller 6 months to decide to do it. OR you may decide to make an offer at $10-20k below the asking price and they may turn it down for a couple months. Either way, precious time is wasted as the cost of borrowing money starts to go back up. Six months down the road let's say the seller sells the house to you at $229k. You got a great deal, $14k off the list price, but what's your payment? Exactly the same as it would have been if you'd bought the house today!!!
Or let's say you wait a whole year and the seller gets so desperate to sell that he drops the price from $243k all the way down to $200k. WHAT A DEAL!!! But guess what: Your payment is still the same as if you'd bought the house today at full price, because the rate by then has climbed up to 6.5%.
Folks there is never going to be a better time to buy real estate than now. Prices are down, rates are down, invntory is up. Real estate agents have been preaching this for several months now, and it's not going to last forever. Better to jump in than to look back and say shoulda, coulda, woulda.