The community/public-service website LiveBaltimore.com recently announced aentitled “Is Now The Right Time to Buy a Home?” The website then had to announce that the tsnownamis of 2010 have forced postponement. Keep an eye on the site, as LiveBaltimore will soon post the rescheduled event. Which begs the question, IS now the right time?
Six weeks ago the Baltimore Sun published an article by Jamie Smith Hopkins giving evidence that the housing market within the city had, in fact, ‘hit bottom’ in the fall of 2009. Baltimore is traditionally seen as the weathervane for the Chesapeake Bay Region (Washington DC, with its influx and outflow of residents with each presidential administration is seen as too peculiar a housing market to serve a similar function). So if the realty news is improving in Charm City, confidence might/should return elsewhere in the area (you probably will pick one of the two qualifiers depending on whether you are looking to buy or to sell).
Indeed, though our area endured a bubble along with everyone else, homeowners did not create the huge mortgage-to-income ratios built up in other regions. Some of that relative debt ‘conservatism’ surely came from the fact that folks in such super-desirable regions as suburban New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix (AZ), or Reno (NV) thought the debt was worth the risk as still more people flooded into the markets. Prospective homeowners in the Baltimore region probably did not envision a homestead rush on our fair city, and thus thought twice about mortgaging themselves to the hilt.
But even if Baltimore housing seems not as flashy as Palm Springs (though we do enjoy some fine, and), the smaller bubble (and the less traumatic popping of that bubble) might serve as an excellent foundation for a sustainable resurgence in housing across the economic spectrum. For example, though there are certainly exceptions, rare is the neighborhood with foreclosed house after foreclosed house sending chills through the entire market. A lived-in home should be a better taken-care of home, which will also encourage potential homebuyers that they are investing in a house, not a reconstruction project. A smaller scale of boom-and-bust has also helped to keep Baltimore’s long tradition of distinct neighborhoods in tact.
So even though the real-estate crash hurts, and rehab will continue for some time, some fundamentals in our area seem to look pretty solid. But then again, is NOW the right time, and are YOU ready to buy? MKCREATIVE can not take responsibility for those answers, but check out LiveBaltimore.com and their great workshops. They can provide the guidance (snows permitting).