Mortgage Rates: Prime is at 5%. We’re talking low 6% on many conforming mortgages, and under 7% for jumbo, in many cases. Certainly a significant decrease from when I bought my first home in 1987 and the prevailing rate was 10%. For more on this, see Tuesday’s post here.
Choice: Let’s face it, there is a bit of a glut right now in most Bay Area cities. You have a lot of properties to choose from, both traditional MLS listings and REOs, not to mention weekly courthouse auctions. And the secondary housing market is suffering as well, so now is the time to pick up a summer home (or maybe buy a summer home instead of a first home and enjoy rental income).
Price: While prices aren’t what they are in say, Idaho or Wisconsin, they have rolled back to 2003-4 levels and are continuing to slide. Add to that realistic sellers making significant price cuts (and/or offering incentives like repairs and closing costs), and it’s gotta make you happier than two or three years ago when many buyers were completely priced out of the market.
Tax Credit: First-time home buyers can take advantage of the $7500 tax credit. Uncle Sam seems to want you in a home, and is willing to give you added incentive. The caveat here is that the $7500 is more of a loan than a tax credit, but it helps you out now and payback comes as your income increases over a period of time (theoretically).
There is actually a site that is called Happy Real Estate News, dedicated to bringing you only the positive information. While that might seem a bit short-sighted, we are overdue for a counterbalance to all the doom and gloom, and besides, who can resist “Happy Graphs”?