A good read for anyone buying a home


If you're looking for a light, personal finance read with a compelling narrative full of anecdotes about what went wrong and where the opportunities to profit from the carnage are, skip this this book.

But if you're interested in a look at the megatrends that will shape demand for real estate over the next few years, "After the Fall: Opportunities and Strategies for Real Estate Investing in the Coming Decade" is definitely worth adding to your reading list.

Veteran real estate journalist Steve Bergsman interviewed industry insiders about all facets of investment real estate, and looked at the trends likely to emerge in the office market, the industrial market, retail, multi-family, and single-family housing and condominiums.

But for the average small-time real estate investor or prospective home buyer, it's Bergman's analysis of the single-family market that is the most eye opening.

Changing demographics related to job growth and household size are likely to render homes in many nondescript, suburban towns exceptionally poor investments. Surveys show that baby boomers do not want to live in the far suburbs, and neither do young people.

In addition, the shrinking percentage of households consisting of a husband, wife and two children may render some large house obsolete. In areas with rising property taxes, it gets worse. University of Utah Professor Arthur C. Nelson tells him that "The dirty rotten secret is homeowners in these suburban counties won't ever make money on their homes."

Before you buy a home, pick up a copy of this book -- even if it's just to read Chapter 10 on "Urban and Suburban Infill."