Realtors find support for good-time-to-buy view

THE REAL ESTATE WONK

November 16, 2007|By JAMIE SMITH HOPKINS

The National Association of Realtors released a survey this week about the housing market that suggests most Americans subscribe to the good-time-to-buy argument that both the Realtors and the homebuilders are making. From the news release:

"This year's results show that nearly nine out of 10 consumers believe that buying a home is a good financial decision. Fifty-nine percent of respondents also agree that now is a good time to buy a home; that number is even higher (64 percent) in areas of recent home price declines."

Other nuggets from the survey, which the Realtors say was a telephone poll of 1,000 people last month and (wonk alert) has a margin of 3.1 percentage points:

"More than eight in 10 say having enough money for down payment and closing costs is an obstacle for homebuyers in their area, up 17 percent from 2005."

"Sixty-three percent also think the mortgage approval process is an obstacle, up 13 percent since 2005."

"When asked how big a problem foreclosures were in their area, 38 percent of respondents said foreclosures were a very big or moderate problem, but the majority, 51 percent, said foreclosures were only a slight problem or not one at all."

"Of those surveyed, more than one in five homeowners have some type of variable-rate mortgage, including interest-only (15 percent), adjustable-rate (6 percent) and a balloon or other large payment due in the next five years (2 percent)."

New Web feature

The Maryland Department of Planning has launched a new feature on its Web site: a centralized place to find comprehensive plans for growth in towns and counties, draft plans if any are in the works and state planners' comments on those draft plans.

It's geared to the most wonkish, but you never know when you might need to find out if planners think your county government is, for instance, failing to properly account for traffic flow on the road you take to work every day.

Find Jamie's blog at baltimoresun.com/ realestatewonk.

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