Low Prices Warm Up Investors but Freeze Move-up Buyers

Written by: Steve Cook   Wed, April 14, 2010 Beyond Today’s News, Market Analysis

According to a new Move, Inc., survey released yesterday, interest in real estate as an investment has more than tripled in the past year.  In fact, 17.2 percent of potential home buyers say they plan to purchase a home in the near future as an investment compared to just 5.6 percent in March 2009.

Nearly half of these potential real estate investors say they plan to own the property for six or more years, 16 percent expect to hold the property between two and five years, while 10.6 percent plan to own the property between six and 24 months.

The survey found approximately half of all homeowners would buy another home today if they could sell their current home for what they paid for it or more, but concerns about employment and their overall economic situation are causing many owners to wait until the economy improves.  One out of four homeowners want to sell their homes not to buy a larger one but because they need to lower monthly expenses because of financial hard times.

The economy has forced some homeowners to make serious sacrifices or changes to their lifestyle as they wait for conditions to improve.  Just over two-thirds of homeowners who have delayed selling their home reduced their daily living expenses in order to pay their mortgage, 35.4 percent have downsized to a smaller home, and 33.5 percent have delayed expanding their family as planned.

The survey also found that while housing has become more affordable in the past nine months, most Americans are still unaware of how affordable homes are today.  Based on survey results, 41.5 percent of Americans think a family making the median income of $52,029 can afford nearly half of all the available homes for sale in their area.  In June 2009, more than three-quarters of Americans said they thought a family earning the national median income could afford 50 percent or fewer of the homes for sale in their area.

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