Now really is the best time to buy (and why it won’t last long)

Yeah, it sure is.  I remember throughout my career seeing other Realtors try to create urgency by saying “Now is the time to buy!”  It was usually tied to a drop in the interest rates.  I always thought my clients were smart enough to realize the interest rates dropping by an eighth of a point wasn’t that big of a deal, so I never jumped on that wagon.

Today is different though.  I am saying now is a great time to buy.  Probably the best time in the past 15 years based on all that has happened.  I’m not going to quote a lot of statistics here since they don’t always tell the whole story.  Like sure, having 1126 sales year to date verses 1000 sales for the same period in 2011 feels good, but 2011 was a bust after the tax credit expired in 2010.  Somebody could point out that 1126 sales YTD this year is nothing compared to the 1722 we had in 2005, but we don’t know how many of those sales were houses that were flipped, meaning one house can count for two sales.  Another could point out that we have had a milder winter that has brought buyers out early………and we all could debate on why the glove didn’t fit O.J. Simpson too.

I’m mainly looking at stability.  As somebody who owns a few houses, I’m concerned most about value.  It’s only the realtor in me that cares about the number of sales.  If supply and demand are pretty in balance, I don’t care.  If my house were the only one for sale and there was only one buyer out there, I’d be fine with it.

This is the first year in a long time where prices aren’t dropping around here and the market is standing on its own two feet.  The tax credits tried hard to stabilize the market, but that turned out to be just a shot in the arm.  Today, we don’t have any crutches for our market.  It’s just about good prices, really low interest rates, and the appearance (whether real or perceived) of an improving national economy.  I’m not seeing the fear of the future like we did as recently as last year, and I sure am not sensing the hesitation from buyers to pull the trigger on a house.

How long will this last?  Who knows?  While we aren’t going to wake up later this year to find an early 2000’s frenzy, I think we’ll see seller’s gaining confidence again.  Right now, they still feel pretty lucky to sell their house.   I think they’ll become less willing to bend over backwards for buyers, which means a higher sales price and/or less negotiation over inspection repairs.  Also, rates will eventually go up.  While rates dropping don’t motivate buyers as much as you might think, rising rates do.  That’s always been funny to me how people seem to care more about a payment going up by $35 a month than they do about a payment dropping by $35 a month.   Let me ask you this, do you see rates going much lower?  If your answer was no, that means the only thing rates can do is stay the same or go up.

So, now really is a great time to buy.  It’s also a great time to sell.

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