Housing Market 2011 Forecast: The Frequent Buyer

Housing Market 2011 predictionsWhat 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? Which way will mortgages rates turn? And what does it all mean for homeowners?

In this edition, we chat with Meghan Daum, LA Times columnist and author of the acclaimed memoir "Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House."

Meghan Daum is a weekly columnist for the LA Times whose unique housing expertise defies certification--she has lived in more than 30 homes from coast to coast and has no intention of planting roots anytime soon. She is the author of the critically acclaimed "Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House," in which she recounts her Sisyphean quest for the perfect home away from home--away from home. She is the first to admit her limited formal training in real estate, but when it comes to capturing the spirit of homeownership, no one does it better. You can read more about her housing obsession and other musings on her blog.

Meghan Daum AOL Real Estate: With the New Year just around the corner, what should consumers resolve to do in the 2011 housing market?

Daum: Let's get one thing straight before we start: Anything I say here is in the "do as I say, not as I do" category of advice. I can be the queen of bad decision making when it comes to purchasing a house or anything for that house. I once almost bought an otherwise not-so-great farmhouse in Nebraska because I liked the way the light came through the window on the upstairs landing. Oh, and I lived in California. I was planning to commute.

AOL Real Estate: What is the one thing you would like to see happen for real estate in 2011?
Daum: I am in no position to offer up any insight into Fannie and Freddie or the credit market or anything else. My interest is in the emotional and psychological side of home buying. Residential real estate is about so much more than tax deductions and interest rates. It's a direct reflection of ourselves. Our home functions as a repository for our tastes, our values, our ambitions, and our anxieties, among many other things. Being interested--or even obsessed--with buying or renovating a house isn't a 21st century, real estate boom and bust phenomenon. It's an intrinsic part of human nature.

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AOL Real Estate: Will you be making any real estate moves in 2011?

Daum: I'm always making real estate moves! Every Sunday, I move myself out of bed and hit the open houses, even when I'm not house-hunting. I move my fingers across the keyboard and look at photos of houses and apartments online. I am sometimes moved to tears when I think of the shadows moving across the landing of that Nebraska farmhouse at dusk--and then I remember that the water was brown.

Seriously, though, I sold a house earlier this year and I'm trying hard to find a new one. I'm feeling very much like I want to buy. But, again: Do as I say, not as I do.

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