Source: CNN Money
Nab a real estate deal – while you still can
The combination of affordable home prices, low interest rates, and the federal tax credit for home buyers have created an opportune time for many buyers to purchase a home. Many real estate analysts also believe that most housing markets have stabilized, but that some markets may decline further.
MAKING SENSE OF THE STORY FOR CONSUMERS
Buyers should keep in mind that housing markets are local and can vary greatly from one neighborhood to the next. Working with a REALTOR® familiar with the area in which the buyer is searching can help the buyer select a house that best suits their needs.
California’s housing market has shown signs of stabilization since early last year. Sales of existing, single-family homes bottomed out in August 2007, and the median home price reached its trough in February 2009. In January, California’s median home price was 17.2 percent above the low for the current cycle.
The federal tax credit for home buyers was extended and expanded late last year. Qualified first-time buyers may be eligible to receive a tax credit of up to $8,000 on homes purchased before April 30, 2010. Repeat buyers may be eligible for a tax credit of up to $6,500. Visit http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=187935,00.html for more information about the federal tax credit for home buyers, including eligibility requirements.
The Federal Reserve has helped maintain low interest rates, which, in turn, has assisted home buyers. However, the agency plans to stop purchasing mortgage-backed securities at the end of this month, which likely will increase rates on 30-year fixed mortgages. Buyers may be able to lock in a low interest rate by working with their lender.