Sunday, April 20, 2008

Good Time To Buy, But Money's Tight

Consumers are grappling with market conditions that have created a buyers' housing market at a time when economic conditions are scaring off would-be buyers. The media also gets another bashing for consumers' cognitive dissonance.

by Broderick Perkins
© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

Deadline Newsroom - Falling home prices and rising inventories are putting home buyers in the best position they've had this decade.

Unfortunately those same falling home prices and rising inventories are putting home sellers in the worst home-selling position they've had this decade.

It's quite a quandary for housing consumers.

Two recent polls tell the story.

On April 16, a new Reuters/Zogby poll found that most, nearly 54 percent of consumers, believe it's a good time to buy a home.

On April 13, an Associated Press-AOL Money & Finance poll, found that even more, 60 percent of consumers polled said it was a good time to buy.

Eric Mangan, spokesperson for, said, "While today’s real estate market offers low home prices, low mortgage rates and supply of available homes, the missing ingredient to recovery within the housing market has been consumer confidence. (These) findings are a great sign of growing consumer confidence and awareness that market conditions have provided unique buying opportunities."

However, the AP-AOL poll also revealed 60 percent said they won't buy a home in the next two years.

Why the disparity?

Economic fears are causing some consumers to tighten their purse strings. Media-critics also say consumers are being spoon fed an unhealthy diet of national news instead of a balanced meal with local flavor.

The Reuters/Zogby poll said nearly three in four Americans believe the U.S. economy is currently in a recession, and nearly half give their personal financial situation a negative rating.

Also, 81 percent of those polled rated economic policy as "poor."

The AP-AOL poll said one in seven mortgage holders fear they will soon miss a mortgage payment. And three in 10 said they are concerned their home's value will decline over the next two years.

AP-AOL also found that 50 percent of those surveyed believe homes are overpriced. Half think this is a very tough time for first-time buyers and nearly 66 percent says it's tougher for first-timers than it was five years ago.

What's a consumer to do?

Real estate experts, like Marcie Hahn at Williams Realty in Salt Lake City, say pay more attention to your local market, than national surveys.

"A direct impact of this national reporting is that consumers do not realize that, in reality, real estate markets are local, not national, and that the doom and gloom reports broadcast nationwide are not necessarily a true reflection of what is happening in their particular market," said Hahn

Market conditions are most favorable for those who plan to buy now and stay put for years.

"The interest rates are so good right now that this factor alone could actually trump any sort of loss, real or imagined, that a buyer could be worried about by putting in an offer now, said Hahn.

Media bias or media backsliding?

© 2008 DeadlineNews.Com

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Broderick Perkins, an award-winning consumer journalist of 30 years, is publisher and executive editor of San Jose, CA-based DeadlineNews.Com, a real estate news and consulting service, and the new Deadline Newsroom, DeadlineNews.Com's new backshop. In both cases, it's where all the news really hits home.

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