Housing prices Q4 2011

Last time I posted a page was Q3 2008. Housing prices had pretty much bottomed out. It is a little over three years later. Where are housing prices today?

Housing Prices since Third Quarter 2008

About the same price point as they were in 2008 with a great deal more inventory.

City/Area Jan-2007 Price Oct-2008 Price Nov-2011 Price
Palo Alto $635,000.00 $252,000.00 $249,000.00
Seattle $269,950.00< $171,000.00< $171,000.00<
San Antonio $100,000.00 55,900.00 56,000.00
Fort Wayne 75,000.00 34,900.00 35,200.00

Homes have same number of Bedrooms and Baths and have similar square footage.

City/Area Home from Jan, 2007 Home from Oct,2008 Home from Nov,2011 Notes
Palo Alto plaoalto2011 In Jan, 2007 this was the only  listing less than 1 million dollars. Oct, 2008 there were 21 properties less than $300k. In Nov, 2011 there were 46 properties less than $300k.
Seattle seattle2011 In Nov, 2011 there were 495 properties available in Seattle for less than $172k.
San Antonio sanantonio2011 70 houses listed less than this price point in Oct, 2008. In Nov 2011 there were over 389 houses at this price point or less.
Fort Wayne fortwayze2011 55 houses listed less than this price point in Oct, 2008. There were a number of fixers under $11,000. In Nov 2011 there were 139 houses at $35k or less.

Opportunity Still Knocks for Some of You

If you have good credit and can come up with a 10% down payment and another 10% to cover closing costs today is a good time to be a first time home buyer. Keep in mind that a home is not an investment! A home is where you live. We bought our home in 1990 for $112K. Before the real estate bubble burst our home was worth close to $300k. With a recent upstairs remodel, kitchen remodel, and main bathroom remodel we can get maybe $160k. Again I reiterate that your home is not an investement, it is where you live. We owe about $50k on our home and the monthly mortgage PITI is a little under $800 a month. We have 4 bedrooms and 1-3/4 bath. A 3 bedroom, 2 bath apartment in our area currently rents for about $1200.

By buying when we did we have weathered the dot com collapse and the current great recession. We have an equity position in our home. It is almost paid for. And, most important we save close to $400 a month in what it would cost us to rent an apartment.

Today is a good time to buy. Prices will eventually go up. But even if they do not you can buy in most areas for the same amount that you can rent. Of course there are many other decisions you need to factor in this equation. In a time when jobs are in short supply and homes are in large supply you may not want to be tied to a particular area. In this case you may want to get into a rent to own contract with a homeowner. In hard economic times there are many creative ways you can get yourself into a home and still keep your mobility. This is a buyers market.