Summertime Blues

Summer has historically been a slow time to buy real estate. The slowest months for sales is November through March, but August ranks #2. During August most home sellers are on vacation soaking up the final few weeks before kids are back in school. August is a time where minds meander under camp sites starry skies. These are the final weeks before 9 months of a heavy regiment of football practice shuttles, daylight savings time adjustments and daily homework assignment check ups. Preoccupation is a significant hindrance and the big brains in real estate know this fact. That is why inventories are very low right now. There is a strange calmness in the air. Things are beginning to change in the real estate market. Kind of like the still before a huge thunderstorm releases its fury.

Banks are sitting on hundreds of thousands of bank-owned properties that will be released as a steady stream onto the market after the Labor Day weekend. The release will be a significant opportunity for home buyers. It will provide what is called a perfect storm: Real estate values 30% to 50% off their 2007 highs combined with mortgage rates at historic lows. Why then are US home buyers not bursting down the doors like shoppers at a one day 50% off sale? Does real estate offer less shelter value than it did 4 years ago? Have families stopped growing? Simply put, consumers are scared about future employment and are very cautious when adding large debt items (like mortgages) to the household budget. Consumers shopping habits are a clear sign of their optimism or pessimism. Currently US home renters, though interested in the quality of life upgrade home ownership offers, are staying put until the job market improves.

For the bold, few that can qualify for home ownership, have steady employment and FICO scores above 630 there are amazing loan programs available with as little as 3% down and 30 year fixed mortgage rates well under 5%. If you are a veteran with an honorable discharge (DD214) VA loans offer 0% down and the VA funding fees can be financed into the first mortgage. Don’t let bad credit stop you either, most veterans can qualify 3 years after a bankruptcy. Don’t let lack of closing cost money stop you, there are still some government closing costs credits available in certain areas. Home sellers are offering appliance upgrade incentives, closing costs credits, inspections and repair costs credit as well. Bottom line, if you need shelter and are ready to see amazing value in real estate, start looking at the housing inventory after Labor Day. You will be very impressed with the quantity of properties available at tremendous value.