Housing Market 2011 Forecast: Barbara Corcoran

Housing Market 2011 forecastWhat will the New Year hold for the U.S. housing market? It depends on who you ask. That's why AOL Real Estate has assembled an all-star panel of real estate mavens and moguls to discuss the questions that matter most to consumers. Should you buy, rent, sell or renovate in 2011? Will home values improve? And which way will mortgages rates turn?

In this edition, we chat with real estate guru Barbara Corcoran, a best-selling author, TV personality and founder of the Corcoran Group, the largest residential real estate firm in New York City. Find out which group she thinks has the most to gain in the 2011 housing market, and what they need to succeed.

AOL Real Estate: What do you think a homebuyer with average credit can expect in this market?

Corcoran: A homebuyer with average credit could go out and get 4.5 percent on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. That is like cheap money. It's like money's on sale. It's probably providing the greatest incentive for people to buy. But, ironically, until interest rates go up, people will take it for granted, and they won't feel the urgency to take advantage of it.

AOL Real Estate: What's the climate like for first-time homebuyers?

Corcoran: You've never had a better market for first-time buyers than you have right now. You have nothing short of a real estate miracle. You have low prices and low interest rates at the same time. You know, in 30 years in the real estate business, we have never had that happen. So as a result, you could buy any home to your liking, and get it a third off on price and a third off on interest rates. And this is better than great news...if you have the courage to act on it.

AOL Real Estate: What about homebuyers who are looking to upgrade?

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Corcoran: The luckiest buyer out there is the person that wants to trade up. They're lucky because they might have to take a hard hit on the home they're selling. But, if they get a 30 percent reduced price on their current home, they can also get a 30 percent reduction in price on the new, larger home that they purchase. So, no matter what, they're ahead of the game.

AOL Real Estate: What's your advice for someone looking to buy in 2011?

Corcoran: Of course people are nervous about buying with so many mixed signals, but my advice would be: Do not wait. If there's one thing I learned about this real estate is that it's very slow to unwind and usually takes years to do it. But once it decides to turn around, those prices move up very quickly, and you'll just be joining every Tom, Dick and Harry bidding on the same house. If you have an inclination to move, you'll get no better time than now, with cheap money, cheap prices and an embarrassment of riches to choose from. Why wouldn't you buy now if you were so inclined? The only thing you need is a little courage.

These AOL Real Estateguides can help, no matter whether you choose to buy or sell:

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