It Pays to Buy Now

Little time remains for you to take advantage of the Federal Home Buyer Tax Credit. Along with high affordability and low mortgage rates, tax incentives make now a great time for first-time and repeat buyers to purchase real estate. It also presents a good opportunity for sellers. To learn more, view this and contact a local Realtor to seize this great opportunity.

New Website from National Association of Realtors Offers Help for Homeowners

The National Association of Realtors announced the launching of its new consumer based website this week, HouseLogic.com, a free source of information and tools that can help you make smart and timely decisions about your home.

According to NAR’s press release, the free Web site helps homeowners plan and organize their home projects and provides timely articles and news; home improvement advice and how-to’s; and information about taxes, home finances and insurance.

“Unlike other homeownership Web sites, HouseLogic helps consumers view their home through a financial lens and make smart, informed home improvement investment decisions,” said NAR President Vicki Cox Golder. “Families can set goals for saving money on their home or increasing its value, and easily track the progress they are making on those goals.”

Visit HouseLogic at www.houselogic.com.

Is Homeownership Affordable?

It seems as if housing prices in the 1990’s and this decade have gone up dramatically more than incomes, making homeownership appear to be unaffordable.  But I recently attended a Long & Foster Education Day where Lawrence Yun, PhD, Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors®, gave a presentation that shows that this may not be the case.  His statistics compared the monthly mortgage payment  for a median income household buying a median priced house in 1998 with 2008.  Since interest rates in 1998 were around 7% for a thirty year fixed rate mortgage, the monthly principal and interest payment would run about 19% of household income.  Think it would be much higher in 2008?  Think again.  With interest rates around 6% in 2008, the monthly principal and interest payment is also 19% of household income.  And with today’s rates running closer to 5%, the percentage should be even lower, making homeownership more affordable than it has been in decades. 

Dr. Yun also showed that if a recession is imminent, this is not necessarily a sign of home sales continuing to decline.  While the early 80’s recession did show deep cuts in home sales, the recession in the early 90’s showed only moderate cuts in home sales, the mid-1970’s recession showed little change and the early 2000’s recession was accompanied by a rise in home sales.

Making Home Affordable

Now there is help for American homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments.  To find out if you are eligible, go to Making Home Affordable.  You might be able to have your loan refinanced to more attractive terms or have the loan modified to make the payments more manageable.