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2008-04-17 20:27:00

The State of Real Estate

Homeownership has been — and continues to be — one of the best investments in your future.

Owning a home offers many social benefits by providing shelter and security to families, instilling pride of ownership and strengthening our nation’s communities. While enjoying the benefits of a shelter they can use, improve and sell, homeowners are also accumulating wealth for the future.

In fact, owning a home is still the best way for most families to build a nest egg. According to the most recent Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, the median net wealth of a renter household is $4,000, while the median net wealth of a homeowner household is $184,400.

2007 was the fifth-best year on record for home sales and modest gains are expected for 2008,  contrary to media speculation surrounding the real estate market.

“Owning a home is a long-term investment, not a quick-in, quickout transaction. While it’s true that the national median price of an existing single-family home dropped by 1.8% from 2006 to 2007, it’s important to put this into context,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Assn. of REALTORS. “Over the past six years, which is the typical length of time an owner stays in a home, the median price has risen nearly 40%. Giving back about 2 percentage points of that gain still leaves homeowners with a very handsome appreciation rate.”

Prices have moderated despite media reports of a faltering real estate market, mortgage rates are near 40-year lows and new FHA and conforming loan limits are giving Americans access to affordable financing in all areas of the country.

“Current market conditions won’t last long. Home prices in most markets have stabilized and inventory is abundant, making current conditions ideal for buyers,” said Yun.

The bottom line is that all real estate is local and conditions vary from one community to the next. A REALTOR can explain local market conditions and help you take advantage of real estate opportunities in the area.

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