Tuesday, September 21 2010
By Robert Freedman, senior editor, REALTOR® Magazine
A piece in the Wall Street Journal yesterday took issue with a recent Time cover story calling into question some of our most cherished beliefs about homeownership. Much of what the Journal talks about isn’t new. In fact, it recites benefits of homeownership that you already know better than anyone. But in pulling them together in the way it does, it makes you realize just how compelling homeownership is from just about every standpoint. If you haven’t seen the piece, by Brett Arends, here’s a thumbnail sketch of its 10 points:
Why is now a great time to buy?
1. You can get a good deal. Prices are down 30 percent on average. They’re at a level that makes sense for people’s income.
2. Mortgages are cheap. At 4.3 percent on average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, your costs to own are down by a fifth from two years ago.
3. You can save on taxes. When you add up the deductions for mortgage interest and others, the cost of owning can drop below renting for a comparable place.
4. It’ll be yours. The one benefit to owning that never changes is that you can paint your walls orange if you want (generally speaking; there might be some community restrictions). How many landlords will let you do that?
5. You can get a better home. In some markets, it’s simply the case that the nicest places are for-sale homes and condos.
6. It offers some inflation protection. Historically, appreciation over time outpaces inflation.
7. It’s risk capital. If the economy picks up, you stand to benefit from that, even if you’re goal is just to have a nice place to live.
8. It’s forced savings. A part of your payment each month goes to equity.
9. There is a lot to choose from. There are some 4 million homes available today, about a year’s supply. Now’s the time to find something you like and get it.
10. Sooner or later the market will clear. The U.S. is expected to grow by another 100 million people in 40 years. They have to live somewhere. Demand will eventually outpace supply.