Thinking of buying a home sometime in the near future, say, sometime during the next three months?

No doubt, you’re hearing from friends or family that you should tread carefully. Or, put your plans off, entirely.

Maybe you’re heading to a Fourth of July party, next weekend, and want some arguments to make in your own defense.

Here you go:

* Data from Moody’s Economy.com shows that housing affordability, as measured in terms of median home prices to median household income, is at its most favorable level since 2001 in metropolitan Boston. This could change if mortgage rates and/or home prices begin to rise;

* The inventory of homes for sale and average days on the market for sold properties have each declined in greater Boston over the past year; an indication that the market has stabilized in most areas and further price declines, should they occur, will be modest;

* The latest report by PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. finds that the risk of home price declines in the greater Boston area over the next two years has moderated, due in part to a healthy labor market, improved affordability levels and a better balance between housing supply and demand locally. In addition, a six-month study just released by HomeSmartReports.com found that the Boston and Providence, R.I. metro areas are among the top 10 lowest risk housing markets in the U.S.;

* The Boston area ranks as the fourth most expensive market in the U.S. for average apartment rental prices at more than $1,600 a month, and average rents in the U.S. are projected to rise 5.3 percent in 2008. This will make it more difficult for renters to save money for a down payment, and deprive them of important tax deductions and potential equity;

* With no further interest rate cuts expected by the Federal Reserve Board in the near future, many experts expect that mortgage rates are going to end the year higher than they are today.

Source: Greater Boston Real Estate Board

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