Now that Valentine’s Day is over, we can get back to reporting on some of the serious and scary things happening in the real estate world right now.
The New York Times recently reported that the geographic sweep of the housing crash has started to shift a little bit. In an article ominously titled, “Housing Market Looks Sickest in Cities that Once Seemed Immune”, the Times traces the fall of housing prices from places like Florida and Las Vegas to places like Portland, Minneapolis, Seattle.
The basic explanation for the decline in these previously-stable markets is pretty simple - those areas which dropped soonest and most drastically, like the Southwest for example, have almost hit bottom. Prices in places like Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Florida are so low that buyers and real estate investors with good credit and a little cash set aside are finally convinced that they’re getting phenomenal deals. They’re starting to buy, little by little.
That isn’t happening in the markets that have been historically more stable, for two main reasons. First, prices simply haven’t dropped enough to override the hesitation and anxiety of many prospective buyers. Second, while the drastic declines in places like Florida were mostly the result of insane and unstable lending practices, the gradual declines in more stable markets are the result of more longterm economic strain which may possibly last longer and prove more difficult to remedy without an overall improvement in the economy.
The outlook for qualified buyers is pretty rosy and bright, however. Anywhere you turn you’ll find enthusiastic exhortations that now is the time to buy.