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Down Market? How about an Ideal Opportunity?

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RISMEDIA, June 4, 2009-With the passing of an $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers, much has been made about the great opportunity available to those who have never owned a home. Yet, the reality is that today’s market offers just as many advantages for existing homeowners wishing to move-up to a larger home.

“Many current homeowners mistakenly don’t think it is good time to buy because they are focused on what they might have sold their home for in the past,” said James W. Weichert, president and founder of Weichert, Realtors. “Once they realize how beneficial it can be to trade-up now, both financially and personally, they often have a change of heart.”

The Financial Benefits

Given the recent decline in home prices, some homeowners are understandably hesitant to sell their home. However, when you factor in the cost-savings on the home also being purchased, trading up now can produce a very positive financial outcome.

Take for example a homeowner who paid $200,000 for a home several years ago. If prices in their market declined by 10%, they would experience a $20,000 loss upon the sale of their home. However, if they are also buying a larger home that had cost $400,000; they would now benefit from a $40,000 savings on their purchase. This is a $20,000 gain in overall equity as a result of moving up. In addition, when prices begin to rise, this trade-up buyer will see greater appreciation in their new home than their previous one.

More House for Your Buck

With home affordability at a record-high and interest rates at a record-low, those looking to move-up can get more for their dollar today than at any time in recent memory. For some this historic buying opportunity can translate in to a home with more bedrooms for the kids or a bigger yard where the dog can play. For others it might mean a larger dinning room for entertaining family and friends.

Whatever the reason, today’s market makes it possible for many trade-up buyers to afford a home they couldn’t just a few years ago and might not be able in a few years to come.

In the Middle of the Action

Perhaps the biggest advantage for trade-up buyers is the fact that they are in the middle of the real estate action – literally. In most cases, the home they own is in the best-selling segment of today’s market, while the home they wish to buy is in a price range that is seeing far less activity.

According to the National Association of Realtors, for the first-time ever, more than half of all buyers are now first-time home buyers. More often than not, the properties these first-time buyers want and can afford are the homes currently owned by move-up buyers. As a result, trade-up buyers who own starter homes that would be attractive to a first-time buyer may have a much easier time selling than they expected.

On the flip side, those looking to move up benefit from the reality that there are less people looking to buy larger, higher-priced homes. This lack of activity at the higher end of the housing market offers move-up buyers more negotiating power and affords the opportunity to be more selective. It also provides the very real possibility of even greater savings on the buy side during the trade-up process.

What remains unclear is just how long this opportunity to move-up to a larger home at an affordable price will last. After several years of price declines, many financial experts are predicting the market is close to a bottom. In addition, the government’s continued involvement shows that it is committed to stabilizing the housing market to stimulate the economy. At the same time, there is much speculation that interest rates may begin to rise in the near future after remaining stagnant within the same range for several months.

“Today’s affordable prices and low interest rates have opened a great window of opportunity for all buyers, not just first-time home buyers. The big question is how long the window will stay open before it slams shut,” added Weichert.

For more information, visit www.weichert.com.

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