Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A quick look ahead into the 2007 crystal ball and a quick look back in time.

One more reason to BUY a home. Did you know that according to the new 2005 American Community Survey analysis of data released in October by the U.S. Census Bureau the real cost of renting a home increased by 6.7% from 2000 to 2005. A quick survey of several cities showed Detroit +22.5%, San Diego +27.2%, and Dallas -3.0%. Home ownership not only provides the potential for substantial equity appreciation, but the ability to offset some income by filing itemized deductions on your annual taxes. Items related to home ownership that may be itemized on Schedule A include mortgage interest, points paid on a new loan, some home improvements including insulation for 2006, and property taxes,

Non deductible expenses include private mortgage insurance, property insurance, homeowners association dues, local assessments such as sidewalks to improve your neighborhood, and every day homeowner repairs.

Mortgage brokers believe that 2007 will bring an additonal crush of borrowers refinancing their exotic mortgages or borrowers jumping from a variety of ARM's to more traditional loan products while the rates are still at historical levels. Who knows what the FED will do next year? Looking back to January 2006 most experts thought that rates would rise steadily throughout the year. And they did for about half the year and then rates surprisingly fell back to the historic levels that they maintain today.

Industry experts believe as they did twelve months ago that interest rates will rise steadily throughout 2007. But will they rise in the short term and level off for the balance of the year? Will they gradually rise month after month ending the year at a high unseen in recent years? The fact remains that nobody knows what will happen with interest rates in 2007. It is possible that rates could fall in 2007.

So the question becomes - should I buy a house in 2007 or should I wait? The answer is simple. If you have the inclination and the resources to buy don't wait. Interest rates are at historically low levels. Property values in Centre County have fallen a bit in recent months. The chances are pretty good that prices won't go much lower. Even if they do and you buy a home, the annual rate of appreciation in the Centre Region will offset any short term price fallback.

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