Buying a House: Take Your Time This Spring
Spring is near, which means the official home-buying season is upon us. But buying a house this spring might be more complicated than most. Joseph Lazzaro of our sister site, DailyFinance.com, explains why you might want to postpone your buying decsion for a couple months.
If you're in the market for a home this season, and your real estate agent calls or e-mails saying "now's the time to buy," reply that you'll get back to her in a few months or so. That's how long it'll probably take before we can determine if the U.S. housing sector will remain in a sluggish, uneven recovery or whether something worse is in store.
Here's an evaluation of the latest housing reports, from the most sobering to most encouraging.
The Case-Shiller Chiller
The most distressing recent report has to be the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Survey, whose 20-city index declined a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in December from November, and 2.4% on a year-over-year basis.
Home prices as measured by Case-Shiller have now declined for five straight months -- erasing almost all of their gains since the recession ended in June 2009.