Believe it or not, there’s good news to be had in the world of real estate-markets that are still holding strong and even growing, sellers who are offering an ever-widening net of incentives to tempt buyers, and an increasing number of savvy potential homeowners who are seeing the glut of properties on the market as an opportunity to purchase their dream house.
So how can you get in on the action? Here’s an insider’s peek at what the industry has to offer.
City Living, Southern Style
According to a July 2008 article in Forbes.com, which examined the home prices, vacancy rates, and spread between rent and mortgage payments in the country’s 40 largest metropolitan areas, two of the best cities in which to purchase a home right now are Jacksonville, Florida, where homes’ prices rose by 8% over the past two years, and Charlotte, North Carolina, where prices increased by 12.9% in the same time period. As the country’s second-largest banking capital, in close proximity to major cultural attractions and educational institutions, Charlotte has a lot to offer. Atlanta also made the cut, as a growing city where buying a home remains affordable.
Texas had an impressive showing on the list of ‘Best Cities to Buy a Home,’ with Houston, Dallas (#6), Austin (#2) and San Antonio (#5) all making an appearance–rendering the Lone Star State a popular place to hang your hat this year. Texas’ thriving residential market is due in part to the presence of many large corporations, business-friendly taxes, and sizeable universities.
Integra Realty Resources, a firm that specializes in commercial real estate valuation and consulting, has rated Atlanta, Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, Kentucky, Charlotte and Greenville, SC as cities that are in an expansion, or growth mode. In fact, the Carolinas are doing well overall. In addition to the popularity that Charlotte is experiencing, the Triangle (home to Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill) is a hot market as well. Home sales are continuing to rise in Wake County, where Raleigh is located. Growth in the Triangle has been slow and steady rather than explosive, so residents and homebuyers aren’t feeling the boom-and-bust effect that’s cast a pall over much of the country.
What to Expect-Advice from the Pros
Jim Wallace, CEO of Intracoastal Realty, a highly successful coastal Carolina real estate firm with more than 30 years of experience, says that he’s seen a rise in sales from the first to the second quarter of 2008. “Our showings and inquiries have seen an increase over the last few weeks,” Wallace says. “Potential buyers are starting to see the value and wide selection of homes available as a reason to buy now. Interest rates are also at historic lows and financing is available for credit-worthy buyers. Waterfront properties are selling at a moderate rate and I expect this activity to increase as we begin 2009.”
So do your research, crunch the numbers, and, most importantly, keep the faith. Somewhere out there, your ideal home, in the community of your dreams, is waiting.