|Home Price Trends: Don’t worry, be happy, don't wait for the last dollar for your home|
Bloomberg.com and other outlets report that more than half, or 74, of the 146 metropolitan areas surveyed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) saw median home prices increase in the first quarter of 2012. In the final quarter of 2011, only 29 metro areas saw such gains.
Florida metros, especially hard hit during the housing market collapse, sported some of the highest gains, with Cape Coral up more than 28% and Palm Bay up nearly 17%. Yet prices in Mobile, AL, dropped almost 15% and in Atlanta 12%.
If you check out the Bloomberg article –- click here – and want some post-read entertainment, hang in their for the reader comments at the end. Some contend –- and are quite animated about it –- that the NAR and Realtors in general are pumping sunshine into a market that still has significant problems. After a Realtor in Port St. Lucie described her local market as “HOT” and supported her comment with a positive summary of related conditions (employment, property inventory, low interest rates), another poster said: Housing prices are falling. Why are you realtors lying to the public about it?”
The fact is that prices in some markets are rising and in others they are falling or level. You would think there is a direct correlation between employment and prices. Yet in Mobile, for example, where prices dropped 15% in the first quarter of 2012, unemployment was set at 8.7% in March, but was well off the 10.5% of just a year earlier. Home prices tend to lag employment trends; if you are trying to guess the market, you might want to look for sharp movements in employment at local levels.
Of course, if you are looking for a retirement or even a second home you intend to keep for many years to come, price considerations are less important. Most baby boomers are not looking for short-term purchases of real estate. For many boomers with equity in their current (primary) homes and looking to move to a golf community in the
southern U.S., the debate over price trends is almost irrelevant. First, waiting for the value of their primary home to rise may be a fool’s errand if the price of the next home they buy also rises (and especially rises at a faster rate). Second, if their primary home is in a high-cost area of the northern U.S., their cost of living could be as much as 40% higher than the area they might move to in the southern U.S. For example, Bluffton, SC, which is home to an outstanding collection of golf communities and just off the bridge from Hilton Head, is 39% less expensive than Stamford, CT. It is similarly cheaper than many other suburban areas in the northern U.S. For a couple planning an active retirement, the cost differentials are not insignificant. And notwithstanding market naysayers, prices in good golf communities are at their lowest in 10 years. If they go a bit lower, so what? Chances are your primary home’s value will have dropped as well. (Note: Stamford, CT, prices dropped 18% in the first quarter of 2012.)
Here are three good reasons why some baby boomers should consider moving now: 1) Golf community prices are at their lowest in 10 years; 2) if real estate prices rise up North, they will do the same in the South; and 3) the cost of living in the South can be up to 40% lower than many areas of the North.
So the advice here is on the order of “Eat, Drink and Be Merry.” Moving south soon might be more affordable than you think.
If you want a quick snapshot of current prices in 20 of the finest southern golf communities, check out our companion web site, GolfHomesListed, and the dozens of properties for sale that are displayed there. If any of them strike your fancy, just click on the “More Details” button. (We ask for your name and email address, but will never share your personal information with anyone other than the Realtor with the listing.) Or if you would like a personal and private consultation about your search for a golf course home, contact me, Larry Gavrich, founder and editor of Home On The Course, LLC.
|Tuesday, 15 May 2012 10:02|
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 May 2012 10:16|