General real estate trends – First time homebuyers

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Podcast Transcript:

People are always asking me about “how the housing market is doing”.   I haven’t gone over the final stats from 2015 on the Westchester housing market. Nevertheless,  I am going to give an anecdotal response to this question in advance of doing my geek dive into spreadsheets, numbers and graphs.

The housing market remains strong.  From my standpoint, the month of December was more active than usual.  Things tend to quiet down around Thanksgiving, but that was not the case this year.

The Millennial generation – today’s first-time homebuyers….

It’s been a long wait, but millennial first time buyers are gradually getting into the housing market.

Sky-high rents appear to be finally pushing this generation out of rentals and into the first-time homebuyer category. This generation has been rightly spooked by the transient nature of today’s job market. The housing collapse of 2008 has made them even more wary.  They also fear  losing the mobility that the rental lifestyle gives them, which is understandable to a degree.

However, I think that getting into the housing market as owners is going to work to their benefit over the long haul. Purchasing your own home, even if it is just a studio cooperative, is a tried and true way to stabilize outlay. It is also a time-tested method of building a thing called equity.  Every time the mortgage is paid, some equity is being gained.

Buying is cheaper than renting…

The bottom line in this market for first time buyers is this: If you have the down payment, it is indeed cheaper to buy than to rent.  This metric isn’t going to change because we have a critical shortage of rental housing. With people being pushed out of Manhattan due to its high prices, the rental prices in Westchester are increasing at a dramatic pace.  It will take years of building up rental inventory to even make a dent in this trend. This, in turn, is pushing up prices on entry cooperative market.

The good news is that if you can get a down payment together, you can lower your outlay and stabilize the volatile cost of living changes that rentals subject you to. You are also buying into a market that, barring a major economic catastrophe, will continue to appreciate in value.

The bad news is that these conditions make it a sellers market and prices are competitive.  Low-balling will get you nowhere fast, but buyers have enough negotiating power to get a good deal at a good price.

© 2016 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – – All rights reserved.

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