RSS
Housing: Are the prices right?
Reasons why it might (or might not) be a good time to jump into real estate
 

“Have a little cash?” said Tim O’Callahan in the Las Vegas Sun. “If you have a secure job, have never owned a home, and plan on sticking around, you should invest in a home.” The economy is bad, and will stay bad for a while, but there are a lot of homes in foreclosure and other housing deals to be found, especially on the starter-home end. There’s a reason that first-time buyers accounted for half of all home sales last month.

Home prices will almost certainly fall further, said Brett Arends in The Wall Street Journal, and maybe much further. But yes, there’s a “contrarian” case for buying now—the key argument, interest rates. Being able to get a fixed-rate 30-year mortgage at below 5 percent is a big plus, especially if inflation becomes a factor down the line. On top of the cheap credit, if you’re aggressive enough, there are some “simply terrific deals” out there.

Don’t forget the $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time home buyers, said Andrea Coombes in MarketWatch. Still, “nobody buys a home solely on the basis of a tax credit.” Despite all the “on the one hand, on the other hand” arguments, buying a home is “a profoundly personal decision,” and you need to weigh your individual pros and cons before you step into “probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make.”

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week