Skepticism About Housing Recovery: Are We Out of the Woods?

For the last couple of years the Obama administration has been assuring us that economic recovery is imminent, and up until now, most of us have been scoffing at these assertions thanks to continued foreclosures and ongoing unemployment rates. But according to pundits everywhere, the recent bump in the housing market might just be the beginning of the end where the Great Recession is concerned. Of course, popular media outlets haven’t exactly been the paragons of valid information on this front over the last few years, a state of affairs that we probably owe to the 24/7 news cycle and the fact that filler often takes the form of rampant speculation in the absence of actual news to report. But setting that entirely aside, anyone who has been poking around on MLS sites like Zillow and Trulia is probably aware that foreclosures have all but vanished, short sales are drying up, and housing prices are actually starting to increase. The only real question is whether this is going to become a trend or if it’s merely a short-lived anomaly in the ongoing recession.

So here’s the good news. If you’ve been looking to sell your home and upgrade, now might be the time to get on with it. Housing prices have by no means reached their pre-recession peak, but you’ll definitely come out ahead of where you were last year, and probably by a fair margin. In addition, interest rates have remained steadily low, which means you could enjoy the best of both worlds as a seller and a buyer. There is a very small window of opportunity here for those looking to get out of one property and into another. And whether the market subsides and interest rates remain low or housing continues to increase in value and interest rates follow, you only have a limited amount of time to take advantage of a real estate market that is prime for both buyers and sellers.

Of course, that doesn’t really answer the question of whether or not this economic turnaround is the real deal that we’ve all been waiting for. So here are just a few factors to take into consideration. Bank loans have increased over the last few years (although thankfully, the unsecured loans that got us into this economic fiasco in the first place are nowhere to be seen). As a result, the housing market has been stimulated. In the wake of the recession, many people who ended up staying in a property longer than anticipated used their time wisely to complete renovations in preparation for economic recovery, and ultimately, the sale of a more valuable property. This, in turn, has helped to stimulate the economy (or at least certain industries) to some degree.

And according to reports from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, real estate sales have almost doubled since 2010, and prices have gone up by a margin of about 25-30%, on average. In addition, lower interest rates have helped to boost sales. So although it might seem as though these changes in the market have developed out of the blue, the truth is that the government, for once, was right about something. The market actually has been improving, slowly but surely, right under our very noses. Will it last? That remains to be seen, but all indications point to yes, barring any major tragedies or acts of God. And while you might not necessarily head to the first lender that flashes a “visit our website” banner in front of you, there’s no reason to hesitate if your house is ready for sale and you think you can make some money on it in light of the recent uptick in sales.

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