Why Buy a Home in Today's Market? It's Getting More Affordable

The $168 billion package signed off on by President Bush earlier this week increased the maximum conforming loan limit up to as much as $729,750, or 125% of the median price. Conforming loan limits are generally set on a statewide level (as opposed to FHA limits which are more local)--HUD has 30 days to determine those loan limits, but this morning the feedback is that for Los Angeles and Orange Counties, the maximum limit may be set! The information should be available by next week. (3/3/08 NOTE: limits may now be set on a county basis, and Los Angeles and Orange Counties may receive the highest loan limit.)

Buyers, it pays to pay attention right now and make plans for yourself. With new rates coming into effect in the very near future, you want to be prepared to take advantage of those lower, former "jumbo" rates which will reduce the monthly payment.

So, with a little help from C.A.R., "Why Buy a Home in Today’s Market?"

1. Interest rates on long-term, fixed, and adjustable mortgages are at historically low levels. The rate on a 30-year, fixed mortgage is hovering just below 6 percent, while, by comparison, interest rates were hitting 8 percent and higher during the last market downturn in the late 1990s, and were between 10 and 12 percent at the height of the last housing boom in the 1980s. Lower interest rates make it easier to qualify for a loan, and your monthly payments are more affordable.

2. No one can put a price on the intrinsic value of homeownership. Home prices also reflect financial worth and, the good news is, across California the median sales price for a single-family home has been consistently rising for several decades. The projected median home price for a single-family home in California in 2008, for example, is $553,000. By comparison, the median price in 2000 was $241,350; $193,770 in 1990, and $99,550 in 1980. (source: C.A.R.) Also, "The percentage of households that could afford to buy an entry-level home in California stood at 33 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007, compared with 25 percent for the same period a year ago", according to a report released 2/19/2008 by C.A.R..

3. The length of time a home remains on the market before it is sold has increased from roughly two weeks in 2004 to between eight and nine weeks in 2007. With more homes on the market for longer periods of time, you have more choices when it comes to selecting a home today.

4. The multiple-offer frenzy that dominated the latest housing boom has subsided, and there is less pressure on today’s home buyers to outbid one another. REALTORS® in California reported that in 2007 only 28 percent of homes sold had multiple offers, compared with 57 percent in 2004. (source: C.A.R.)

5. The credit industry crisis that has made securing a home loan difficult for many has led to heightened scrutiny of mortgage lenders. As a result, state and federal agencies have created protections for home buyers that were not in place a year ago.

Buying a home in today’s market may be challenging, particularly for those with credit problems or little saved to put toward a down payment. But there are many factors impacting the current housing market that make buying a home today a viable option.

the above article courtesy of California Association of Realtors.
For a new site to set your own search, register at http://www.longbeachrealestate.listingbook.com/.

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