There's little doubt that the current state of our economy has us focused on conservative spending. When you combine that with the fact that the media continues to report on a general national housing downturn, it's no surprise that many people are a bit nervous about buying a home right now.
However, the combination of an outstanding selection of homes, more affordable prices and favorable mortgage interest rates has definitely piqued the interest of local buyers recently. First-time homebuyers also have the added incentive of what is being heralded as a once in a lifetime opportunity to cash in on a fully-refundable tax credit up to $8,000 if they seal a deal before December 1st.
"Now is definitely a great time to buy a home, and from my perspective things are starting to pop out there," Celeste Zajac, founder of the Northwest Indiana Housing Alliance and a northwest Indiana account manager for Ticor Title Insurance™, said. "Business is definitely picking up in the local real estate market. Some wonderful new loan programs have been introduced and, when you consider the supply of homes available at reasonable prices right now, there's no doubt that buyers are going to start taking advantage of the wonderful opportunities out there."
In fact, recent statistics for both the median selling price and number of properties sold in our local area indicate a positive trend. According to the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of REALTORS®, data compiled for the five counties of Lake, Porter, Jasper, Newton and LaPorte indicates that the median selling price is back on the rise after reaching a low of $89,900 in February. With several days remaining in April, the price jumped to $114,450, nearing December's figure of $116,000 prior to the decline in January and February.
"I have been hearing with absolute certainty from our members that things are picking up," Pete Novak, chief executive officer of GNIAR and member of the Northwest Indiana Housing Alliance, said. "Given the recent turmoil in the housing and financial markets, people who want to buy a home may be sitting on the fence, waiting for the market to bottom out. Since prices in our local area did not rise as fast as they did in other parts of the country during the housing boom, these numbers point to a relatively modest decline here as well, especially when you factor in the number of distressed property sales since the beginning of the year."
In a recent survey by researchers from the Keller Center at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business, a group of 840 economists expressed their opinions on matters related to the housing market. Most of the economists surveyed expect the market to bottom out at some point in 2009, with 8 out of 10 believing home prices will rise over the next 5 years.
More than half of the economists agree that a sizable number of people are waiting for the housing market to bottom-out before buying a home. Of course, no one can predict the exact moment when the price decline will end and sales will officially rebound, so the economists all caution against trying to time the market.
"The Baylor study should provide some assurance to potential buyers that, in the opinion of an array of experts, the housing market is beginning to show signs of stabilization," Novak said. "Ultimately, when to buy a home should be based on a buyer's needs and readiness to buy a home."
For most of us, home ownership is so much more than a financial investment. Sure, it's often the primary source of net worth, an important step in accumulating personal wealth and long-term financial security, yet home ownership also gives us a great sense of personal satisfaction. With a permanent place to call home, we become part of a greater community, which is truly the best benefit of all.
Whether you're looking for a newly built home in a developing community or an existing home in a well-established neighborhood, there are many good reasons to buy now. Along with a great choice of homes, including a selection of move-in ready new construction and home sites to build the home of your dreams from the ground up, you'll find plenty of opportunities from people who are looking to trade up, downsize or relocate.
For more information on how to get started, turn to the Northwest Indiana Housing Alliance. Offering a one-stop resource for prospective home buyers and sellers that provides detailed information on everything you need to know about the local real estate market, members of the Northwest Indiana Housing Alliance include the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of REALTORS® (GNIAR), the Indiana Mortgage Bankers Association (IMBA), the Indiana Association of Mortgage Brokers (IAMB), the Building Industries Association of Northwest Indiana (BIA), and the Porter County Builders Association Inc (PCBA).
By tapping the expert advice and guidance of professionals affiliated with the Northwest Indiana Housing Alliance, you'll find all the essential facts necessary to make an intelligent decision. Visit HYPERLINK "http://www.nwihousingalliance.com" www.nwihousingalliance.com to get started right now. Along with links to each member's website where you'll find valuable contact information, there's a handy guide to some of the most common real estate terms, calculators you can use to get an idea of how much your monthly payments would be for different selling prices, complete details on who qualifies for the $8,000 tax credit, helpful myth busters so you can determine fact from fiction and much more.