Thursday, December 11, 2008

Is it time to buy?

This New York Times article demonstrates that this might be the best time to buy your first house. While many people are worried about job security, if you have the downpayment, prices and mortgage rates are at the lowest they will be for years to come.
When Jaime and Michael Proman moved this fall to Minneapolis, his hometown,from New York City, they craved a different sort of life after two years together in a 450-square-foot studio apartment. “We didn’t want a sterile apartment feel,” said Mr. Proman, who is 28 (his wife is 26). “We wanted something that was permanent and very much a reflection of us.”

The fact is, in many parts of the country there are few if any attractive rentals for people looking to put down roots and enjoy the sort of amenities they may spot on cable television home improvement shows. Comparing a rental with a place that you may own seems almost pointless in these situations, especially for those who are now grown up enough to want to make their own decisions about d├ęcor without consulting the landlord.

Still, for anyone feeling the urge to buy, a number of practical considerations have changed in the last year or two. The basics are back, like spending no more than 28 percent of your pretax income on mortgage payments, taxes and insurance. Even if a lender does not hold you to this when you go in for preapproval, you should hold yourself to it.

It might sound crazy to some since we still don't know where the bottom is, but if you are smart and keep your costs to one overhead for couples, then this might be the best opportunity to get more house for a lot less.

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