Less competition in the market over holidays!

Timing Timing is everythingcan be everything! Recent good news about the housing market has many home buyers wondering whether now is a good time to buy. For example, home sales activity increased 9.4 percent nationally in September, a 26 percent increase from a low point in January, according to the National Association of Realtors.

However, this doesn’t mean that the housing market has bottomed out or that we’re heading toward a seller’s market. It could take years for the market to level out and turn around to where it was in 2006.

The $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit has stimulated the market, and it has been extended. A credit of up to $6,500 is now available to repeat home buyers who qualify. Income restrictions apply. To take advantage of these credits, the buyer needs to have a deal in place no later than April 30 and close no later than June 30. The home-price limit for both credits is $800,000.

An active first-time buyer market helps the move-up market as sellers move from smaller to larger homes. Low interest rates make it possible for the middle-level home sellers to sell and move up or scale down. Lenders are processing home mortgage applications more quickly than they did earlier in the year, and there is more jumbo financing available.

Many buyers wanting to take the ‘bull by its horns’ are having difficulty finding a home to buy. The inventory of good listings on the market is low in many areas because prospective sellers who don’t have to sell now are waiting for a better market. To aggravate the situation, many sellers who need to sell now often take their home off the market after Thanksgiving and will bring it back on the market next year.

Buyers may find there’s very little on the market to choose from for the next several months. However, they may also find that many buyers will drop out of the market over the holiday season, leaving less competition for the listings that are on the market during this period.

Tip: To have an edge over your buyer competitors, ask me to search for listings that were either temporarily taken off the market or canceled. I’ll find out if these sellers still want to sell and ask if they would be willing to show you their home and entertain an offer.

Keep in mind that some homes that were withdrawn from the market didn’t sell because they were priced too high. The appeal of not having to put one’s home back on the market is a big draw for many sellers, perhaps enough to persuade a seller to accept a realistic offer.

No one knows what the housing market will look like in 2010. There may be more foreclosures and short sales and increased unemployment. This may or may not force home prices lower. Interest rates are expected to go up next year, according to many analysts. If rates increase significantly, this will make it more difficult for buyers to qualify and will might cause monthly payments to increase more than they would if prices went up. In other words, there’s a lot of uncertainty going into 2010.

This just might be the season for you to buy as long as you have job stability and you buy for the long term. If you wait to buy, you could end up paying more.

The above article was edited from a piece written by 30-year  S.F. Bay Area real estate expert, Dyan Hymer.

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