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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 2:24 pm | Fair 71º


Paul Suding: Headlines Signal Good News for Home Buyers, Sellers

Real estate market is shifting, and a gradual recovery is clearly under way

Have you seen the latest headlines? “Why 2011 May Be the End of the Housing Crash” and “Local Economy On the Upswing” — both of which appeared only a few days ago.

These headlines are important now, even though most Realtors who are in the “trenches” on a daily basis have sensed this for many weeks, if not months — the real estate market is shifting, albeit gradually.

What’s different now is that economists and professional forecasters are offering statistical evidence that the housing recovery is indeed under way.

If you are a seller in this market, this news won’t necessarily translate into a higher value for your house — at least not this year. What it does mean is that you are more likely to sell your house, assuming that it’s priced right.

An economist specializing in California real estate projects only a 2 percent increase in home values for 2011. But she also forecasts an increase of nearly 10,000 more homes selling in 2011 than in 2010, obviously indicating more buyers. And the total number of real estate transactions in Santa Barbara last month was the highest February count since 2007.

So if you are a seller, you might not get more money for your home, but you are likely to have more buyers considering your home.

As a buyer, this news is particularly meaningful. Especially when “housing is the most affordable it has been in decades,” according to experts at Moody’s Analytics.

It’s not just prices. In case we need reminding, interest rates are still lower than ever. But what Moody’s Analytics also points out is that, as a function of income, “Nationally, the cost of a house is the equivalent of about 19 months of total pay for an average family — the lowest level in 35 years.”

Plain and simple: “Houses are a good deal,” and so says The Wall Street Journal.

Paul Suding, a real estate agent with Cool Santa Barbara Homes and Village Properties, is president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. He can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 805.455.8055.

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