"So, Steve... how's the housing market going to fare out ?"
A good question, but one, as I get older (and hopefully smarter!), I back away from. Or at least I try to be VERY careful as to how I answer it.
Side note: There was an article in the Wall Street Journal on 1/12/09 about a guy named David Lereah. He was the National Association of Realtors' chief economist. He was the guy everyone turned to to with that same question. And he got paid big bucks to answer it. So he did... he answered that question, sometimes without even being asked. And he gave his answer in fantastic settings like Hawaii, and Colorado and all over, while staying in VERY nice accommodations and flying first class everywhere he went. I have a signed copy of his book written in 2005, on my shelf at the office, "Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom" ... "why home values and other real estate investments will climb through the end of the decade- and how to profit from them"
Today, Mr. Lereah, is no longer associated with the National Association of Realtors (NAR). There are different stories as to whether he left or was told to leave. But his six figure stream of income from NAR is no more. In fact Mr. Lereah is struggling to adjust and trying to keep his portfolio in tact. The very house he lives in has taken a 20% hit since he bought it and moved into it. His life has changed.
Now, whether Mr. Lereah should be castigated for his faulty prognosticating, or NAR needs to be questioned on why they might of pressured Mr. Lereah into somewhat less than accurate forecast, is up for debate.
But I will take this from Mr. Lehreah's experience: DON"T TRY TO PREDICT THE FUTURE.
I have a very optimistic "feeling" today about real estate. It's my nature. But if a client is ready to purchase a $250,000 home today and turns to me and asks me if I think they can "get their money back" inside of four years.... well, I am very cautious with my response.
For single family home buyers... do your homework. Counsel with your Realtor. Buy a home that is TODAY a good buy. You're buying it because you want to live in it. If you're buying it because you want to sell it at a better profit than you could get in say, a certificate of deposit, or in the stock market, you are taking a risk. And that's OK, but remember it's a risk!
For investors.... crunch the numbers! But the same thing goes for them as far as future values... it's a risk!
Good luck my friends... And keep on rockin'!