Still on the fence? Time to get off it! Now is the time to buy! Not in the past 20 years has housing affordability been better than it is now. The combination of historically low interest rates, a large inventory of homes to choose from and affordable home prices makes this the market to jump in to.
As it currently stands, prices for homes and rates are still low, and are only expected to rise. Those of you that have been waiting will already be paying more. Effective April 18, for those planning to use FHA financing to buy a home, Annual Insurance Premiums have increased by .25%. That means a loan at $250,000 just increased by $52.08 per month. Couple that with the fact that we are indeed seeing pricing increases in many areas, many buyers could be paying more than if they hadn't waited as long.
Sellers are motivated. Many homes have been on the market for months because of current market conditions. Sellers are eager to finally make a sale, and this means they are likely to approach what they may not consider the "perfect" offer with a more favorable attitude. We are seeing more willingness to negotiate price, as well as other aspects of negotiations such as closing date or throwing in a few extras like appliances, certain repairs or contributions toward closing costs. You're also unlikely to end up in a bidding war that could drive up the price or make you completely lose out on a home that has really caught your eye. However, be cautious, as we are seeing the return of multiple offers - another sign of an upward swing and yet another reason to get moving!
For those interested in a new builder home, take advantage of the perks! Home builders are competing with the resale market and are offering incentives to potential buyers to reduce their inventory of unsold new homes. Cash for furniture, free refrigerators, washers, dryers, these are just some of the things we're seeing.
Also keep in mind that the government is even now reviewing down payment lending requirements. Congress is working on legislation to define rules for a Qualified Residential Mortgage which includes provisions that would require 20% down payments on new loans. This rule does not apply to Fannie and Freddie loans, however, there has been much talk of doing away with Fannie & Freddie, which currently constitute 90% of the loan market.
Another good sign is the fact that investors are jumping in to the market again with both feet. Short sales and foreclosures are great deals and rental prices are increasing.
In my area of Volusia County Florida (Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach, Port Orange, Ponce Inlet), where we have been hard hit by short sales and foreclosures, I have recently had several of my buyers lose out on properties they had an interest in because they waited too long to make a move. Multiple offers are cropping up and sellers are being extremely receptive to the offers coming in.
So Mr. & Ms. Buyer - time to come off the fence now!