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Positively Speaking...

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Posted 11-05-2010 at 04:04 PM by Roy Sanborn

The inventory level of homes for sale in the Lakes Region dropped just a bit in November. We are down from the 1244 homes available to 1178 as of November 1 with and average asking price of $559,403 and a median price of $284,450. That compares to 1146 homes on the market last November at an average asking price of $587,664 and a median price of $299,900. In November 2008 there were 1218 homes on the market at an average of $536,037 and a median of $299,000. The current inventory level represents 18 month supply of homes to sell. That is also down some from the 21.5 month supply posted in June, but as I have been saying (seems like for about 3 years now) the inventory level needs to be much, much lower.

Yeah! Election day has come and gone! The pre-recorded phone calls will stop and all the election signs will disappear! It will be interesting to see what impact this election will have on the mood of the country. A more positive outlook certainly would help everyone. It would help the housing market, too. So let’s look at the positive points of buying a home right now.

First and foremost, home prices are down substantially. Remember the old saying “buy low and sell high”? Well, right about now certainly appears to be where you can “buy low”. Add to that the fact that we have a huge inventory of homes for sale makes it fairly reasonable to assume that you should be able to find more than several homes that meet your criteria at reasonable prices. Home mortgage rates are at an all time low, but nothing lasts forever and they will be going up. Guaranteed. Borrowing money will never be this cheap again. But you do need to have good credit and a good down payment although FHA loans are available with as little as 3½ % down. Home ownership is at its most affordable level since 1969 when they started tracking home costs, mortgage data, and income levels. But that’s not the only reason to buy now.

There are a lot of other benefits to be gained from owning a home. For example, you get to spend weekends at Home Depot. Just kidding. There are definite tax advantages to owning a home. When you rent an apartment or home to live in, your monthly rent payment goes to pay your landlord’s mortgage and taxes. I can assure you, he thanks you very much as you help him build his wealth! When you buy your own home, you get a tax deduction for the mortgage interest you pay on your loan as well as your property taxes. Given the fact that your monthly payment is mostly interest (I know, it is scary when you say it out loud) that can be a pretty big deduction at the end of the year. This alone isn’t the only reason to buy a home, but you have to live somewhere so why not get all the benefits you can?

Despite all the bad news we have endured over the past four or five years since the housing bubble burst, the financial meltdown, and mortgage crisis owning a home is still viewed by most as a good long term investment. It definitely should not be viewed as the get rich quick, short term investment that house flippers thought it was five or six years ago. Even though much of your monthly mortgage payment is interest to start with, you will begin to whittle away at the principle and over time gain equity in your home. Doing even simple home improvement projects creates sweat equity by increasing the value of your home with little cash outlay. Property values will eventually rise creating even more equity in your home. According to David Bach, an expert and author on investing, a home owner’s average net worth is 46 times that of a renter. That’s really something to really think about when you pay your rent.

Owning a home is also one of the few investments that you can use every day---no, that shiny new car you want is definitely not an investment. You can also redecorate, remodel, or put an addition on your home if you like. That’s not likely going to happen if you rent. You don’t have to worry about the landlord selling your place out from underneath you or raising the rent suddenly. Owning your own home tends to increase your overall quality of life and positively affect how others perceive you and how you see yourself. Positively wonderful...

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