Now that the tax credits for first-time and repeat home buyers have expired,* many people are wondering if this is a good time to buy a home.
The answer is easy: Yes.
It’s a very good time to purchase a home. The recession is in retreat, and even though housing is on the mend, it’s still a buyer’s market. Moreover, Congress has made it clear that the home buyer tax credits are gone for good and will not be renewed. Even without the tax credits, there are many opportunities in today’s market including affordable prices, low mortgage rates and great new homes. But market conditions can change, and these opportunities may not be around for long, so home buyers shouldn’t wait.
An excellent selection of homes on the market makes today a very good time to buy. A plentiful inventory provides a great choice of homes, and many builders have brand new homes that are "move-in ready." Additionally, many owners of existing homes who postponed trading up or downsizing due to market conditions are now ready to sell. And as employment improves, the number of relocations will increase, bringing more homes into the market.
If there’s a silver lining to the recession and the housing downturn, it’s that homes in many markets are more affordable. Prices in some areas have moderated significantly, especially in major markets where they increased the most during the housing boom that occurred in most of the country.
* Qualified buyers who had a binding contract in force by April 30, 2010, have until June 30, 2010, to complete their purchase.
Qualified members of the military, foreign service and intelligence communities who were on official extended duty outside of the United States for at least 90 days between January 1, 2009, and April 30, 2010, may qualify for a one-year extension of the tax credits. Go to FederalHousingTaxCredit.com for more information.
Low Interest Rates
Like inventory and pricing, mortgage interest rates are still at very favorable levels, but rates are sensitive to market forces and can change quickly. There’s no indication that rates will suddenly surge upward, but even a slight rate increase can push monthly payments to the point that a buyer might miss out on their first choice for a new home.
Prospective home buyers also should be aware that lenders are looking more closely at borrowers today than in recent years. To ensure that the process goes smoothly, buyers should consider pre-qualifying for a mortgage and having financing in place before shopping for a new home. Buyers also may find that some home builders have arranged favorable financing for their customers or offer financial incentives.
Greener and Better
With energy costs near the top of consumer concerns, it’s good to know that new homes can be more energy efficient than ever. Innovative materials and construction techniques mean that today’s new homes are built to be much more energy efficient than homes constructed a generation ago. Not only can they be more affordable to operate, new homes also are significantly more esource-efficient and environmentally friendly.
Designed With Buyers in Mind
Designed to accommodate today’s busy lifestyles, new homes feature open floorplans, flexible spaces, improved safety eatures, low-maintenance materials and other amenities that make them more appealing than ever before. And in many areas, prospective home buyers who wish to live in age-qualified communities for those 55 and older will find a large selection of homes tailored to the evolving lifestyles of the baby boom generation.