Feature

Housing: Long road to recovery

Many housing analysts say the worst is yet to come, said Harold Brubaker in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of risky mortgages are set to go through adjustments that will impact borrowers.

Many housing analysts say the worst is yet to come, said Harold Brubaker in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of risky mortgages are set to go through adjustments that will impact borrowers. “We’re not even halfway through that,” says Susan Wachter, a professor of real estate at the Wharton School. Defaults on mortgages are expected to jump significantly this year, according to forecasts from Moody’s Economy.com, and the number of homes repossessed because of foreclosure is expected to increase 42 percent this year.

If you’ve been waiting for some time to sell your home in a less-than-perfect market, said Dian Hymer in The Boston Globe, then a recent report by the National Association of Realtors may offer some hope. The report notes that home prices in most markets were stable in the third quarter of this year, while others saw slight gains. “But before getting too carried away with the idea that now is the right time to sell, step back and assess the overall strength of the current home-sale market in your area.” See how many similar houses are on the market, how long they’ve been sitting, and what offers buyers have made. “Analyze what qualities made these listings high-demand commodities.”

Though prices could very well fall further, potential buyers shouldn’t try to time the market bottom, said Walter Updegrave in Money. “Even assuming you can figure out the ideal time to buy—that is, when prices have not only hit a trough but are on the verge of rebounding—by the time you find the house you want, line up the financing, and close the deal, the ‘best’ time may have already passed.” Instead, look for a house and location you’d be happy in for the next several years. Flex your negotiating muscle, if you like. Just don’t get too carried away. “You don’t want to overplay the haggling game and end up losing out on a great house for the sake of a few thousand bucks.”

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