Thursday, January 25, 2007

REAL ESTATEment

I�ve been looking for houses here in Austin. I have seen everything on the MLS in the desirable areas within my price range. I have seen a carpeted kitchen, one that had drop ceilings, A house that sits so close to the road that a car had bumped the curb and damaged it, houses with no driveways, no yards, trees growing through the front porch, trees growing on the roof, punch holes in the walls. I�ve seen neighbors with upholstered couches in the front yard, an active game of dominoes being played next to a fire in a trashcan, cars in every square foot of the yard, street, and side, even stacked on top of each other. I saw closets that were transformed into bathrooms and kitchen floors that slanted to one side. I saw one house that claimed the laundry room was a bedroom just because they had put a mattress on the floor; another stuck a circular staircase in the dining room for access to the �master suite� upstairs (AKA an unpainted attic with no bathroom).

It seems like people are under the impression that if you rip up shitty carpet to expose shitty wood floors, add low-end appliances with stainless steel fronts and put thin, cheap black granite over the counter tops then you have just �RE MODELED�. NO you have just covered up a whole lotta ugly with a whole lotta cheap. Please stop insulting my intelligence with absorbent price tags. I don�t care if your home is �central�. Rarely does the cost benefit analysis swing in your favor if there�s no driveway, washer and dryers in a shed out back or your neighbors all have their portraits on the FBI�s Most Wanted list. I�d rather sit in an hour of traffic each day than reside there.

Home sales plummeted in 2006 to create the biggest drop in percentage sales since 1989, BUT prices have NOT followed. According to THIS article, home prices remained steady despite the massive slow down in sales. For the first time in 6-months the median home price remained steady from the previous month, which indicates the market may be leveling off. Median prices had been experiencing a decline of 4% (average) month-over-month since August. Which was temporary good news for homebuyers looking for good deals (me , Me, ME)

What does this tell perspective homebuyers like myself? Well 2 things:

(1) The days of buying move-in ready properties that suit my lifestyle/location needs/taste level for under 300K may be over. The price bar has been raised. Sellers aren�t budging on price)
(2) When and if you do get your hands on a decent property, you can expect to resell it at a decent profit. Even now.

The good news is that analysts predict that 2008 will be the year of real estate redemption. So buying a property now and waiting 2 years to sell it could pay off for people like me big time. I guess I�m just hoping that something comes along that makes sense. Living in a �desirable� town like Austin has its ups and downs. I�ve just finished a grand tour of all the downs�and it sucks.

1 comment:

dcmasshole said...

You think prices are bad in the states, I read an article yesterday regarding prices in London. I believe a closet (I really do mean about the size of closet with rats and mice) was going for 335K. Now that is outrageous. Just keep looking you will be able to find some good deals. Although, prices might continue to rise because those new condos that would have been on the market are not becoming apartments reducing supply.

If you have time, find people that are elderly, close to bankruptcy, or divorce and make deals with them. The previously named are eager to make deals.