Just 5 of the Reasons Why I wish I was a First Time Buyer Right Now:
1. I’d finally have a **** chance to get my first choice home rather than lose out over and over again in outrageous bidding wars!!
For the first time in many, many moons (most say since 1990-1991), San Francisco real estate is not a crazy seller’s market. The playing field is MUCH more even. In some micro-markets, it is even a buyer’s market.
In general, the market is balanced and for a chronically “low supply / high demand” city like San Francisco, this means the outlook is extremely good for home buyers.
Although this may last well into 2009, it will not last forever. SF has had a strong, expensive real estate market since the Gold Rush and this latest financial debacle is not likely to change this reality.
2. I could actually pay a decent price for my starter home.
Okay, there is no “fire sale” in San Francisco but there are some darn good values right now. Home price appreciation has stagnated and in many cases, home values are down (think lofts, TICs, some condos, and single family homes).
Over the long-term, even 5 years or more, San Francisco real estate prices remain way up. Remember, real estate is a long-term investment… However, in the short-term, prices are down or flat. This means a home buyer can expect to pay 2005/2006 prices for many properties.
THIS IS A RARE, ONCE IN A DECADE OR MORE HOME BUYING OPPORTUNITY.
3. While others complain of uber-tight financing conditions, as a first time buyer, I could actually get a loan and at a historically LOW 30-year fixed interest rates.
Despite the credit crunch, mortgages up to about $729,000 are pretty easy to get.
From BankRate.com, “Qualified borrowers can find conforming and FHA-insured mortgages easily. Jumbo mortgages are more scarce, but available. But the mortgage marketplace isn’t frozen, at least in part because of federal intervention.” My clients just got a 30-year fixed loan at 6.125% with zero points and really low closing costs.
4. 5-7 years from now when I’m ready to “move-up,” I’ll look like a superstar investor!
Many economists project this crisis and it’s clean-up to last through 2009 with recovery beginning in 2010. This is the national and international outlook, meaning it is a very macro perspective.
San Francisco was amongst the last to feel the housing downturn and most think we’ll be amongst the first to recover. So, if I buy now-ish and plan to stay at least 5 years, that puts me into the year 2014…
So, tell me? Do you think San Francisco real estate will cost more or less in the year 2014? What about your rent?
5. My gosh, if ever there was evidence of the stability of owning San Francisco real estate, this market is it!
Think about it. We are in the worst financial mess in decades, some say since the S&L Crisis and some say since the Depression. Regardless of the particulars, we all agree that it is BAD. So how is the local real estate market faring compared with the rest of the country or even the larger Bay Area?
The folks in most of the country would LOVE to have our 10% depreciation, don’t ya think? Many US real estate markets are down 50% and some more. Imagine that? So our homes are down 10% plus or minus. Big whoop.
Plus, didn’t I hear rents just keep going up and that competition is fierce. With all of this compelling evidence, why on Earth would a qualified buyer sit on the sidelines? Maybe they like paying more taxes than us homeowner? Got me.
Listen, I know it is scary out there and by all means, proceed with caution. Just don’t panic and do nothing. If your job is secure, you have savings for a down payment, you have some retirement savings, you have good credit and low debt, you really, really, really should look into your home ownership options.
Tax season isn’t far away either and you are paying a lot more tax than your coworker with a mortgage is.
Think it over and do what is best for your own long-term…