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Real Estate Blog
Sunday, February 28 2010
5% to 30%: According to Fortune magazine, that’s the decrease in home prices that economist Mark Zandi of Moody’s has predicted for 2010, depending on the region. Other noted experts, such as Karl Case of the Case-Shiller Home Price Index, have made similar predictions.
(See Exhibits 1 & 2.)   The bottom line is, if you have any thought of buying or selling a home this year, you can use this information to your advantage as part of a strategic plan.

Prices & Rates: In the end, the housing recovery depends on prices.
In any market, boom or bust, homes must be priced right to sell.
Today, that means more than just being competitively priced. Today, a home must be so well priced that the buyer actually feels compelled to buy it for fear of missing the
opportunity to do so. Buyers right now have the benefit of historically low mortgage rates, plenty of inventory from which to choose, and generous tax credits. In many cases, the final factor to tip the scale is price, pure and simple.
The smart seller knows this.
     For Buyers: Some buyers feel that if prices are still decreasing, they can hold off and get a better deal in six months. However, buyers must consider the opportunity cost of waiting. Right now, rates are still low, due to certain federal government programs.
However, as explained below, these programs are slated to end, and when they do, mortgage rates are expected to increase, probably dramatically. Any decrease in price will likely be offset by higher mortgage payments.
     In addition, although a buyer who proceeds now may see a decrease in value for the short term, real estate is best viewed as a long-term investment. In 10 years, today’s buyer will likely be sitting on a tidy appreciation figure, in a home that would have been out of reach in 2005. Savvy buyers will seize the moment and realize that there hasn’t been a better time to buy a home in at least 25 years.
     For Sellers: Some potential sellers have discovered that the best strategy is to
become a buyer. People are realizing that selling, even at a lower price than originally anticipated, frees them up to reap the benefits of buying in this market. Many people are ending up in better homes in move-up neighborhoods at greatly reduced prices. With mortgage rates so low, some people actually end up with the same monthly payment in the new home.
     Sellers also need to understand the effect of foreclosures and short sales. 
Foreclosures continue to drag down prices in all segments of the market. No state is
immune, and no neighborhood is immune. In addition, an emerging trend for 2010 is the
increased use of short sales to avoid foreclosure. In a short sale, the home is sold for less than the amount owed to the lender. The strategy for sellers is clear: Price your home properly to attract qualified buyers before competing foreclosures and short sales do.
Governmental Actions: The $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit has spurred home sales all over the nation. Toward the end of 2009, the credit was extended, and a new credit of $6,500 was added for qualified move-up buyers, stimulating further activity. Also, the Federal Reserve has been purchasing $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities to keep interest rates low.
     However, both of these measures are slated to end in the spring of 2010. When they do, sales activity is likely to slow or even halt, and rates are very likely to increase. (Exhibit 3 shows expert predictions of where rates will stand at the end of 2010.) For both buyers and sellers, the opportunity for strategic action is clear:
Take advantage of the momentum that has been created by these programs by lining up your transaction now.
     As always, I am committed to keeping you abreast of market conditions. As a nationally recognized real estate expert with decades of professional experience, I’ll continue to provide updated, pertinent information. For additional data, visit my website at, where you’ll also find my blog. If you need help formulating a real estate strategy, call me at 631-941-4300 or
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Michael Ardolino
Team Ardolino/Realty Connect USA
764 Route 25A
Setauket, NY 11733
Office: 631-941-4300
Direct: 631-941-6262
Fax: 631-675-1857

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