Whether you own a home or not, by now you’re probably aware that the welfare of the real estate market directly affects the overall health of the American economy. After the past few years of economic turmoil, everyone’s eager to see improvement in 2012.
So what’s the real estate outlook for the coming year? It depends on who you listen to.
The National Association of Realtors predicts we’ll see gradual improvement in the 2012 real estate market. Yet Clear Capital, a data and valuation firm, said in a report that home prices probably haven’t yet reached bottom.
No one can really predict what interest rates will do in 2012, either. Will they go up? Stay the same? And what does either move bode for the overall economy?
As uncertain as the real estate outlook may be, there are a few things you’ll be able to count on:
- Plenty Of Inventory: Between record foreclosure and short sale rates and builders starting to develop again, if you’ll be house hunting in 2012, you won’t have any trouble finding something in your price range in virtually any market in the country.
- Care For Your Credit: If you’re home-shopping in 2012, the best mortgage deals will continue to go to those with the best credit scores and histories. That’s always been the case, and the collapse of the real estate bubble has made it even more so.
- Selling Is Competitive: This is another axiom that’s become even more relevant during the Great Recession. With such a huge pool of available homes, buyers don’t feel they have to settle for anything less than a great home at a great price. So staging a home, making important repairs and cosmetic improvements, and offering buyer incentives are more important than ever.
- Home Values Remain Low: Real estate experts agree that in many markets, especially those where home prices were highly inflated, values will take years, if not decades, to rise back to their pre-crash levels.
- Finding A Way To Recover: Home ownership remains an integral part of the American Dream for many. Several studies have indicated that Americans are taking the lessons of the Great Recession to heart by getting rid of credit card debt and rediscovering the value of frugality.