Yesterday’s pending home numbers were pretty dismal. They indicate that buyers are not rushing into the market and that confidence is still lacking in a housing recovery. Admittedly, I am disappointed by the over 11% drop nationally and nearly 10% drop in the West. Sure I can justify the decline as natural because of the floods and tornadoes across the Midwest and South, and heavy rains in the north; that in the West the markets of Las Vegas, Phoenix and Inland California are warping the statistics, where by all measures the market remains over run with distressed properties. I could still argue that the Coastal and metropolitan areas within California are short on supply, and that my calling of a bottom last week not premature in the least. I can even point to the obvious year over year decline as simply a statistical inevitability because last year’s numbers were tainted by the Federal Housing tax Credit, were artificially high, and that the year over year spread should start to decline steadily following the normalization of non-subsidized home purchases. I could argue all of that, because it’s all true – to a point – but what is equally true is that consumers are still fearful of housing and that lack of confidence is holding back our recovery.
While supply is still story I pay the most attention to, I cannot dismiss the fact that buyers do not have to buy. Without confidence or inspiration, the consumer will consume out of need, not out of desire. When nervous, buyers will wait, keep their pocket book closed and that can push a market lower. Yes it’s a bit of a herd mentality but so what? Who can blame folks for being nervous and cautious? At the same time however, I still see opportunity for buyers, if, and it’s a big if, they can find the right home.
Fortune favors the brave.
I love that phrase. And I believe it is true and that timing really is everything. Despite the pending sales decline, I believe the time to buy truly is now. Can you lose equity immediately? Sure. But if you find the right home and pass, will you find a home just like it another day? Probably not. The right home is unique, because it’s right for you; right for its location, characteristics and right at the price. Affordability has never been better. Rates are low, crazy low, and for a few more months loan limits are high (the $729,750 high balance conforming loan limit will drop in October to $630,000 making everything above $630,000 a “jumbo” loan and that means a jumbo interest rate). Amazing rates, prices back to 2003 levels and an improving economy? I am not sure there will ever be a time like this again.
FDR said it best when he said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”. If you are confident about your job, housing is not something to fear right now, rather something to embrace and take advantage of. We’ve all heard stories about a “Once in a lifetime opportunity”, I think this is it and that there may never be a better time to buy a home than right now.