Special Feature: Is Now A Good Time to Buy a Home?
I have noticed a trend of families moving more this year than the few years before. The "going to see a new house" Facebook status updates and "first day in our new home" on Twitter have passed my eyes more than a handful of times. Is the moving boom just my imagination, or is there a shift in the real estate market? Is now a good time to buy a home? I wanted to find out and interviewed some professionals in the industry.
Join me and read the special feature, 2010 Real Estate Market & What Moms Should Know About It, and find out if now really is the best time to purchase your family home.
This week I interviewed two real estate professionals, broker Keith Furrow from Oneir Realty Keith Furrow and Associates from Gulf Breeze, Florida, and realtor Dayna Twyman from Keller Williams Realty, one of the top realtors for families in Austin, Texas. Furrow is an almost 30-year real estate veteran, and his company focuses on the entire Northwest Florida, and Dayna Twyman is also a Homes for Heroes Affiliate. Homes for Heroes gives discounts to military, police, firefighters, medical staff and educators when they are buying or selling their homes. Next week, I will feature two other professionals who will answer all of our questions about mortgages and family estate planning.
Katja Presnal: Tell us about the real estate market in your area - have you seen a shift in the past six months, or has it been stable?
Dayna Twyman: The real estate market in Austin is very good! We didn't see a huge "bubble effect" in sales prices many years back, so our prices did not drop significantly as some markets in other areas of the nation. Affordable homes under 400k are still selling very well and the market is improving in the most recent months. Most areas of Austin are seeing a very good increase in sales price for the month of June 2010 compared to June 2009, some even in the double digit percentile. The luxury market in Austin is still trying to recover from the lower market prices, which means some incredible deals for buyers.
Keith Furrow: We have noticed some changes in the market recently. We had seen and increase in buyer traffic and sales since early last year, which seems to now have subsided.
Presnal: Keith, has the oil spill on the Gulf affected the area real estate market?
Furrow: At this time it is hard to say if it is related to the gulf oil crisis or because the tax credit which ended on April 30 this year.
Presnal: In your opinion, is now a good time for families to think of buying a home? Why or why not?
Furrow: I feel this may be one of the greatest opportunities to a purchase a home in 40 years. I feel history will show that those who waited will regret it. Affordability index is at its greatest ever because of the lower prices, and interest rates being the lowest ever recorded, combines to make this a very special time to buy. Many believe that by 2012-2014 there will be a housing shortage. I know at this time that is hard to believe. These are my thoughts. Families are still being formed by the hundreds of thousands each month and year (many being told not to buy now), there will be less builders to build homes, banks are aren't financing new subdivision projects which means a shortage of lots to build on. It is tough that the pendulum swings so far each way but it does.
Twyman: Right now is definitely a great time for families to buy a home in the Austin area! The best time to buy is when the market is low or recovering. A great opportunity exists here for sellers to move up to a higher priced home. As a seller, you can sell your lower priced home and experience the gain in equity on a higher priced home.
Presnal: What kind of house is a good investment right now?
Furrow: As far as what is a good investment to buy right now? I feel that it is best to look at a home as a place to live and raise your family not a quick way to make money (i.e. flipping). A home has always been a GREAT long term investment. The idea that you can purchase a home for your family and expect to make a profit in less than 5 years is not realistic in most cases.
When I got into real estate nearly 30 years ago no one even thought of a personal home purchase that way. Then when loan money became relatively easy to obtain especially for a second or third home with no money down, prices went up fairly quickly and very quickly in some markets. This created a strong speculation market and many used their homes as an ATM machine. As we know this unbalance in the market had and has to find equilibrium. If someone is truly looking for a place to raise their family or to retire in, then now is time to buy. At the end of 30 years you can either have a pile of rent receipts or a paid off home.
Presnal: Do you have any tips for families who are looking for homes right now? Is it still "location, location, location", or has today's economy brought other things families should consider when they think of investing in a house?
Twyman: Location is certainly still extremely important in Austin's real estate market. The closer you are to the heart of the city, the higher the median home price. School ratings are another important thing to consider when buying, even if you don't have children. Neighborhoods in areas with the best schools seem to hold their value. Those neighborhoods are often the most desired neighborhoods to live in, so the homes usually sell quickly there as well.
Furrow: I feel location is still the most important factor. But location is very relative to each person’s situation. One has to consider how much they can afford, bedrooms, baths, maintenance, home owners dues, taxes, closing costs, type of loan, home owners insurance costs and so many other factors, it is best to call a Realtor to help you in any Real Estate transaction.
Presnal: Thank you both for your time.