Housing Market Update

By: Gina Labarbera

I won't jump the gun and say that all is well but, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, housing prices have been slowly, if steadily, declining since 2006. The author, Cyril Moulle-Berteaux, notes that in 2005 and 2006, the average home mortgage required 25% of a buyer's monthly income. For first-time buyers, the numbers were more intimidating, with homes often commandeering up to 37% of the household income. Ouch!

Over the past two years, as more people have been unable to purchase or maintain their current homes, housing prices have fallen 10% - 15%, while income is steadily growing. Home prices now are on par with where they were in the 1990s and, consequently, more people are able to afford to buy. This is especially helpful to first time homebuyers.

Will this decline in housing prices lead to a dramatic drop in home value for people who already own homes? Not to worry, according to Mr. Moulle-Berteaux. As inventories of unsold homes decrease (due to increased affordability and people buying them), the market will start to swing upward again. This is a pattern that has occurred consistently in the U.S. housing market and there is no reason to expect that this time will be different. We can, however, hope that the growth will be slow and steady, and avoid the fireworks that led to drastic price increases, speculative loans and a rash of foreclosures.

If you'd like to see what is available in the Jacksonville area in your price range, give me a call.

Real Estate
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