I am a little bit flummoxed. Right now, housing affordability is the best it's EVER been, since the National Association of Realtors has been tracking the statistics. Interest rates are at record lows, under 5% in many instances. The Federal Government is still making 3.5% down payments, under 5% interest rate financing available to buyers through its FHA program. AND there is a federal first time home buyer credit available of $8,000, which means eligible individuals or couples filing jointly will get an $8,000 credit on their 2009 tax return. That is essentially $8,000 in free money back from the government, just for doing what we're all told is the American dream, buying a first home.
So why aren't first time home buyers out there in droves? Or why aren't the ones that are out there BUYING, rather than just lolly-gagging around and looking?
I don't know the answer. I really AM flummoxed. I welcome any feedback from you fence-sitting buyers, or other real estate professionals. The only thing I can come up with: buyer psychology. That d*mn national media has been talking for so long about the sky falling, it's become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
My advice, if you are a first time home buyer that's been taking his or her or your collective sweet time: Get off the fence NOW. It's the Spring market. Inventory isn't going to get better. There is no guarantee the interest rates will stay at these record lows. And the $8,000 tax credit expires on December 1, 2009. That means you have to have closed on the sale by no later than November 30, 2009 to get that free $8,000 government handout. And trust me, the way loan officers are swamped right now, with refinancing and sales, don't think you can write an offer September 30 and be closed on time. Oh no. I think loan officer volumes are going to get even heavier as people realize time is running out, rush to get closed, and that December 1, 2009 deadline looms nearer.
Don't miss the boat and be kicking yourself December 2, If you're going to buy anyway, why not buy now?