Is this a good time to buy a house?
Is this a good time to sell?
I get asked these questions all the time. My answer is usually, “Sure. Why not?”
That may sound a bit flippant, but let me explain. What my friends and clients are really concerned about is the real estate market and what the future might bring. And, while we can look at what’s happened in the past, at current trends, and at leading indicators, it’s really anybody’s guess. No one has a crystal ball.
Answering either question involves looking at plusses and minuses. So, taking the two questions one at a time …
Is this a good time to buy?
You may be thinking: Prices have shot up so much in recent years. I don’t want to overpay and get stuck. But, what if I wait and things get even more expensive? Understandable questions.
Here are a few things to consider:
Money is cheap right now. Mortgage rates have crept up recently, but we are still at historic lows. That makes buying a good deal. Even if you don’t have much saved for a down payment, month-to-month, buying is still probably cheaper than renting.
You can get a mortgage. Underwriting standards are still tighter than they were before the crash of 2008 – before which, if you could fog a mirror, you could probably get a loan – but credit is available if you have a job and a reasonable credit score.
Prices are not likely to drop any time soon. The signs for Nashville’s real estate market point to continued growth for the time being. Our population growth is surging, and that drives up prices. Some leading indicators for the real estate market – automobile sales for example – point to a coming slowdown, but that likely means the rate of increase will drop, not prices themselves.
On the down side:
Inventory is extremely tight. Nashville's growth is driving an insistent demand for housing. Competition is intense. It can be tough to find the house you want, and then actually land the deal. Frustrating at times, though persistence – and working with a good realtor – usually pays off.
And, of course, absolutely nothing in this life is certain. We have to take what we know, make our best fact-based assumptions, and go for it.
So, is this a good time to buy? Sure. Why not?
Next post: Is this a good time to sell?