With all the changes that have happened in the real estate market lately, many people are wondering, “Is now still a good time to buy?” The answer is YES! As long as buying makes financial sense for you, the market is still providing great deals for buyers.
CoreLogic, a real estate data and analysis company, recently reported that foreclosures across the U.S. were down 14% in December 2013 over the same month in 2012. This is good news for buyers, because it means that they have a better selection of homes to choose from. Distressed properties often come with their own challenges; many require extensive repairs to make them comfortable. With fewer of these homes on the market, buyers won’t have to worry nearly as much about needing to make repairs after closing as they would have just one year ago.
Home prices rising for the 22nd straight month
Additionally, fewer foreclosures have resulted in home prices rising for the 22nd straight month. While prices are not as low as they were a year ago, they are still much lower than before the housing bubble burst in 2008. If you’re in the market for a home, this may be the ideal time, before prices rise further.
Mortgage rates hit a one-month low
Another motivation to buy is a recently dip in mortgage rates. Realtor.com® recently reported that mortgage rates hit a one-month low in January, falling from 4.51 to 4.41 percent for 30-year fixed mortgages. There were similar declines among 15-year fixed mortgages, which dropped from 3.45 to 3.56 during that same time.
While buyers may pay less in interest, new mortgage rules could restrict the amount of home a person can buy. Banks must now handle so-called “jumbo loans” differently. One requirement is for a mortgage to be “qualified” before being approved. Qualified mortgages have more stringent criteria for approval in order to reduce the number of foreclosures that happen nationwide.
Buyers shouldn’t be discouraged by the mortgage regulation changes, they were enacted to protect against predatory lending. As a result, those who do choose to buy a home are more likely to be able to keep it than they would have before lawmakers enacted these new rules.