Who Is Saying It is Time To Buy a Home? EVERYONE!

Enough with the doom and gloom about homeownership.” – WSJ 9/16/2010

WOW! If that quote was attributed to the National Association of Realtors or the National Association of Home Builders, it would have been quickly dismissed. However, it was the Wall Street Journal that was calling for the end of the ‘doom and gloom’ talk surrounding real estate.

We are finally seeing a powerful backlash to all the recent claims that homeownership should never have been part of the American Dream. It is about time!

The WSJ has been posting on the financial advantages and the other non-financial benefits of homeownership for over a year. “We must admit that, at times, we felt very lonely. It now seems that we are part of an ever growing army of believers preaching the advantages and opportunities available in today’s real estate market. Who have joined this cause? Let’s name a few.”

The Nation’s Real Estate Pricing Expert

Karl E. Case is a professor emeritus of economics at Wellesley. Professor Case is also co-creator of Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller House Price Index and is recognized as the one of the foremost authorities on real estate today. In a New York Times op-ed piece earlier this month titled, A Dream House After All, he said:

“I have never quite understood what the American dream really means when it comes to housing. For some people, it means having a solid and fairly safe long-term investment that is coupled with the satisfaction of owning the house they live in. That dream is still alive.”

“Others, however, think the American dream is owning property that appreciates by 30 percent a year, making a house into a vehicle for paying bills. But those kinds of dreams have become nightmares for the millions of foreclosed property owners who have found themselves sliding toward bankruptcy.”

But for people with a more realistic version of the American dream, buying a house now can make a lot of sense.

The Wealthy

The only segments of the housing market that are showing sales growth are the price points over $1 million. That market is up 6.1 % in the second quarter of this year vs. the second quarter last year. A recent survey showed that over 30% affluent buyers are planning to either build/buy a new primary residence or a second/vacation home in the next twelve months. It appears the wealthy believe now is the time to buy!

Everybody Else

Fannie Mae just released their National Housing Survey. The survey reported:

  • 82% of respondents consider homeownership important to the economy, up two points from January.
  • 70% of respondents think it is a good time to buy a house (of which 36% think it is a very good time to buy), up six points from January. This is also four points higher than the 2003 survey – well before home prices peaked – when 66 % said it was a good time.

Bottom Line

Our iconic financial newspaper, our nation’s real estate pricing expert, the wealthiest people in the country and 70% of everyone else think now is the time to buy a home. It probably makes sense to listen to them.

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