Wow, what a ride it’s been! And it’s not over yet! Since early March we’ve seen unbelievable swings up and down in the stock market, proposed mergers of major building companies – Pulte & Centex; GM & Chrysler flirting with bankruptcy, merger and dissection; credit card issuers changing limits, rates and other conditions and the government trying to stimulate housing by offering a flat-out gift of $8,000.00 for home buyers purchasing a home between January 1, 2009 and December 1, 2009.
Does anyone actually wonder why the American consumer is a little stressed?
There’s just way to much exciting stuff going on right now and our real focus is real estate here, well almost all of that exciting stuff amounts to good, although confusing, news. Interest rates remain at historic lows, the stock market is having a recovery of sorts and houses are selling.
The most dramatic change in housing is not what you can buy but what you can’t buy. Most home buyers who have well maintained homes in good locations have simply opted to keep their homes off the market till things recover or stabilize. That means that homes offered for sale by lenders are often very poor quality which can often be bought at very low prices. More often than not, these properties require a significant amount of investment of both time and cash.
So where are the deals?
Well, the deals are there for anyone who has the stomach to take a risk and the financial wherewithal to do so. To be sure, you have to look at dozens of properties and you have to know what you will pay – and keep in mind that you may not get every deal you want to make and may not get all your terms your way. Again it’s a risk.
Sales do seem to have picked up a bit after the last few weeks. It seems likely that as the $8,000.00 stimulus money makes its way into both the public and REALTORS consciousness sales will be positively affected.
If housing begins to stabilize it seems likely that other variables will stabilize as well and this should lead to improved consumer confidence, which should lead to increased spending outside of basics, which should lead us back into a recovery cycle. How long? Who knows? My guess is we will not see significant price increases in housing till 2011 or 2012.