“There might finally be some good news this year about the nation's dismal housing market. Or, at least, the bad news could stop.”
“Either way, it will be welcome relief for current homeowners as well as for potential real-estate investors. Reasons to be optimistic have been sadly lacking since the housing bubble burst in 2006.”Constable points to the continuing decline in the S&P/Case-Shiller home-price index that fell again for the fifth month.
What are the signs that the bottom is close?
“Houses Are a Good Deal. Housing is the most affordable it has been in decades, according to analysts at Moody's Analytics. They don't just look at house prices. They also look at incomes.”
“Nationally, the cost of a house is the equivalent of about 19 months of total pay for an average family, the lowest level in 35 years. Prices usually average close to two years' pay, although that varies nationally.”
“Investors Stepping Up. Here's another sign the market is nearing a bottom: Investors have started to buy up houses and condos, in some instances paying entirely in cash. That's a far cry from the heady bubble days when borrowed money seemed the key to riches. The bubble-era speculators who got burned tended to buy at the peak and borrowed heavily to do so. When the crash came, they quickly saw their wealth erased.”
“Plan to Stay Put. Buy and hold. While the good news is that the worst of the housing crash might be over, the bad news is that the fast gains of the glory days of 2005 and 2006 won't be back any time soon. So to cover the costs of buying and selling, and what could be a prolonged recovery, plan to own for more than 10 years, explains Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Chicago-based Harris Bank.”
“Home Buying Without a House. There are other ways to benefit from a real-estate rebound than directly buying a house. Such investments include stocks, mutual funds or exchange-traded funds. Unlike homes, which typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, these financial investments can be made in smaller amounts and typically are easy to sell.”Is there light at the end of the tunnel. Could be, but it can also be a locomotive entering the tunnel.
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