Posts Tagged ‘inflation’

Real Estate Bubble? That May Not be the Question

“Are we in a real estate bubble?” can still be a nagging thought for prospective Jamestown home buyers. It turns out that it might not be the most relevant question.

When you buy a home in Jamestown, you commit to what is actually a two-pronged proposition. One part is ultra-conservative: its practical utility as shelter. Being master of the roof over your head doesn’t just let you feel like you have a grip on the future—it removes a sizeable chunk of the unknown from your family’s prospects.

It’s that other aspect of owning your Jamestown home (or a home anywhere) that can trigger hesitation. When all is said and done, this is also an investment vehicle—perhaps the largest most people will ever acquire. Although this aspect, too, is often considered to be quite conservative, within the past decade there was a time when common wisdom had it that buying homes was such a risky financial gambit that only the bravest (or wealthiest) were tempted to take the plunge.

So—which is it? Is it simply a 50-50 proposition—or is there a straightforward answer to whether buying a home in Jamestown is more of a chancy venture than a prudent one?

For the risk-averse, the good news is that history does give us a reliable answer—one that depends on just one qualifier. Owning your home is a high-risk investment only if the frame of reference is short term. Over the long haul, it’s about as conservative as an investment can get.

Here’s why. Last decade’s Great Recession—and the residential real estate bust which accompanied it—were preceded by what was unarguably a full-blown real estate bubble. All the earmarks of a real estate bubble were present, here in Jamestown, across the nation, and internationally.

For a buyer who purchased at the height of the bubble, the fall in value was precipitous. From 2007 to mid-2008, the drop in U.S. residential prices was nearly 33%—a plunge not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. For a buyer who had purchased at the height of the bubble, selling within a short timeframe could result in a significant loss. In that case, their investment would have been almost as risky as a stock market speculation (the S&P lost 50%).

Yet for homeowners who had no reason to sell, the actual dollar losses never materialized. By this time last year, buyers in most parts of the country were willing to pay prices that exceeded the heights of 2006. Inflation has had an effect—yet current moderate residential price rises have been outstripping inflation in recent years. In fact, last week the Economist found that “across America, prices appear to be at fair value when compared to their long-run averages.”

So the more important question may not be the one about real estate bubbles at all. It’s about whether a prospective home in Jamestown (or any other community) is intended as a short or a long-term purchase. In all cases, I hope you’ll call me to supply my experience and up-to-the-moment market insight.

 

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners           http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERRealty.com

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

Laer Realty PartnersJoan Parcewski Full Picture 102017

 

 

Buying Your Billerica House in a Hurry? Not So Fast!

 The goal of owning your Billerica home free and clear is usually thought of as the sunniest eventual outcome of the process that begins with buying your Billerica house. The vision of the day when you make that last mortgage payment is an attractive one: whether in retirement or sooner, a “free rent” future has great appeal.

So when financial planners argue against the wisdom of paying off your mortgage, it makes for interesting reading. One such planner is Ric Edelman, whose article “11 Great Reasons to Carry a Big, Long Mortgage” presents a laundry list of the possible financial benefits. As one of the nations’ foremost financial advisers, Edelman also has a well-earned reputation for brash presentations (his PBS series made the most of that). And he really does list eleven reasons why “you should have as big a mortgage as you can get and never pay it off.”

Some of the reasons are fact-based—but not really pertinent. For instance, Reason #1 is that your mortgage doesn’t affect your home’s value. True: whether its value rises or falls depends largely on the current Billerica market…but that isn’t a reason for or against carrying home loan debt.

The same is true for Reason #2, which is that a mortgage “won’t stop you from building equity…” The logic here is the same: even if you never paid down your home loan’s principal at all, if the expected market value rises (it’s “almost certain to grow in value over the next 20 years”), your equity would grow independently.

More convincing are the remaining nine reasons, leading off with Reason #3, “A mortgage is cheap money.” This will earn head nods from every financial analyst, and it’s doubly true with today’s incredibly low interest rates. It may only be useful to those who have ideas for places where the “cheap money” can produce juicy profits—but what financial planner can’t suggest a few?

The other reasons deal with:

  • tax benefits
  • the dwindling real cost of mortgage payments over time due to inflation
  • the liquidity provided by refinancing (“selling without selling”)
  • the wealth creation possibilities of money invested sooner rather than later

Each of these can be illustrated by graphs and charts (and believe me, they are).

Whether you are more of the less-owed-the-better mindset or Edelman’s big long mortgage school, one thing holds true in both cases: buying your Billerica house is the necessary first step. I can be of immediate value in that department—call me to see what I mean!

Joan Parcewski, Realtor & Notary

LAER Realty Partners           http://www.JoanParcewski.LAERRealty.com

JParcewski@LAERRealty.com    cell 978-376-3978

 Laer Realty PartnersJoan Parcewski Full Picture 102017

 

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