Even if you don’t read the newspapers, watch TV or listen to the radio, you have to know that the nation’s economy is in the midst of a huge slump right now. Just take a walk around your neighborhood. You’ll see more than a few “For Sale” signs outside its homes. And you can bet that these signs have been poking up from their front lawns for many months.
The housing market has actually been in the dumps since the middle of 2006. That’s when the rapid appreciation of homes suddenly came to a halt. Not only that, housing prices began to fall.
In some states, such as California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona, housing prices actually plummeted. Homes that were once selling for $1.5 million, are now struggling to attract offers at listing prices of $800,000.
And according to the latest statistics from the National Association of Realtors, this sad reality isn’t changing any time soon. National housing prices are down 0.7 percent in the first quarter of this year from where they stood in the first quarter of 2009. And remember, 2009 was considered to be a truly terrible year for the residential housing market.
But bad news for home sellers equals good news for home buyers. The drop in housing values means that this is actually a terrific time to buy a home.
The first reason is obvious: With housing prices so much lower, you can buy more home for less money today. This holds true even in the hottest neighborhoods of big cities such as New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington DC.
But there are other reasons why this is such a great buyers’ market. First, sellers are desperate. This means that they’re willing to negotiate on most anything. If you want an additional $10,000 lopped off the asking price, request it. The odds are good that the seller will accommodate you. Sellers are also more willing to replace leaking roofs and be flexible on closing dates, all in the hopes of landing a sale.
Finally, with housing sales having slowed since 2006, buyers have plenty of residential inventory from which to choose. And when the number of homes for sale at any one time is high, this means that sellers, again, become desperate to make their residences stand out. Often, doing this means offering their homes for a bargain price.