What's so bad about consumers waiting to buy homes?


You can't watch television, pick up a newspaper, or peek at a personal finance blog without hearing doom and gloom about the American economy. Everywhere I turn it's "housing crisis" or "subprime meltdown" or some other dire-sounding catch phrase. And while I'm all for personal fiscal responsibility, sensible budgeting, and living within one's means, sometimes the cries of "danger, danger" just get to be too much.

Every news organization is polling consumers to see how dismal life has become - and they're all telling tales of woe. Yesterday's poll asked consumers about purchasing a home, and 60% of consumers said they definitely won't buy a house in the next two years. That's up from 53% in a similar poll conducted 18 months ago. And this is something that should cause us to panic? I'd actually think this is something good... the numbers haven't changed that much even though the media claims that we're on the brink of disaster.

Besides, is it really all that bad if consumers are going to wait a little longer to buy homes? Maybe that will give them a chance to save more and become more financially prepared for all the costs that go into home ownership. While this may be disheartening for those trying to sell their homes now, I say that this is good news when it comes to having homeowners who are more ready for the financial responsibility of owning a home.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.