January 27th, 2011 2:25 PM by Lehel S.
I often get asked this question in my profession. It's a simple question with a relatively simple answer in the eyes of any Realtor. Since the housing market took a turn for the worse in early 2007, thoughts of purchasing a home bring with it anxiety and concern for any potential buyer.
The fear is that the market is not done bottoming out and no one wants to be caught owning a home that's worth far less then what they purchased it for.
Needless to say, I am partial when it comes to buying or selling a home. Since I am a Realtor, the expected answer would be that it is a great time to buy or sell. That's the mantra of Realtors in most any market.
Considering that Realtors have to work within the market they are in, we always look at the cup being half full. But we are constantly reminded on television about how the system failed the American buyer, and now we are paying a hefty price.
We should not stop reminding people about the virtues of home ownership. Home ownership matters to families, communities and the health of our economy. It goes without saying that neighborhoods with a lot of rentals suffer from a lack of curb appeal. A recent industry study said homeowners are more likely to repair or improve their home and are more likely to be involved in local school board. They're also more likely to be involved at the local political level to affect change.
This is evident in the grassroots campaign going on in Whittier where homeowners are trying to stop Matrix Oil from drilling in the open space reserve in the Whittier Hills.
I'd like to point out a few reasons why now is a great time to buy a home and become a homeowner.
One is financial security. An overwhelming number of people would agree that owning a home is a wise choice and one of the most important factors in achieving the American Dream. Data from the Federal Reserve shows an extreme disparity in wealth between homeowners and renters.
Second, with current rents for a single-family home averaging around $1,750 in the local area, one might want to consider buying. There would be virtually no sticker shock considering a mortgage for an average home in the Whittier-San Gabriel Valley averages that of a rental payment.
Purchasing a home usually becomes profitable in year eight. You will spend more money to buy the house than you'll pay in rent, but you will have the value of the house, and the value appreciates over the life of a 30-year loan. Financial security is a cornerstone of the American dream and home ownership offers a clear advantage. In many middle class families home ownership is often the largest asset they have for retirement.
Often, this outweighs the value of a 401(k) or Roth IRA. In a time of need, home equity is just as liquid as retirement accounts.
As the writer Samuel Johnson once said "To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition." Stop paying rent and take control of your future.