Economists Predict Gradual Improvement for the Housing Market and Economy in 2012

Check out this months Reality Check which takes a look at economists predictions for the housing market in 2012. Some notable highlights from this report:

  • Some top economists predict the worst of the downturn may be over and expect to see a gradual improvement in home sales and prices in 2012
  • Housing affordability is as good as its been since 1970 with reduced home prices and record low interest rates
  • Favorable market conditions and an improving economy are expected to lead to a 4-5% increase in home sales in 2012 according to National Association of Realtors (NAR) economists
  • Consumers should expect to see home prices gradually rise this year with inventory declining in many areas

Given  affordable home prices and historically low interest rates, buyers should consider jumping into the market right away before rates go up and lack of inventory causes prices to rise, which some speculate could happen in the second half of the year.

What is my Home Worth? The Truth About Internet Home Estimates

With the internet playing such a large part in the real estate market these days, it is important to understand the accuracy of the data provided by vendors such as Zillow and Trulia. Take a look at this interesting video from the Wall Street Journal that provides a frame of reference for home value estimates online. Estimates can be as much as 20% – 50% off given gentrification of a neighborhood or upgrades owners have made that don’t factor into the complicated algorithms these websites use to assign a value to a home. While nationally, the median error rate for Zillow is 7.9%, its important to note that these are called estimates for a reason and a consultation with a real estate professional or a property appraisal specialist is necessary to get an accurate assessment of your homes value.

Video: Wall Street Journal – The Fuzzy Math of Home Values

Tips for Hiring a Contractor

With the deluge of out of work contractors, there may be many offering their services to you that may not be as skilled as you might think in your specific project area. Here is a helpful article from the Mercury News today on how to effectively weed through contractors when remodeling or improving your home to find the best person for the job.

If you are unsure where to start with referrals, feel free to contact me today to locate construction specialists in your area.