Friday, March 27, 2009

To Buy, Or Not To Buy A Vacation Home Now?

An article from CNBC now circulating suggests this is the time to buy the vacation home you've always wanted. Why? Prices down... inventory up... interest rates low.

Nevertheless, those I've spoken to urge caution.

It's still difficult to get a second-home mortgage (CNBC's reporter agrees). Buyers must be ready to come up with a good chunk of cash-- at least 25 % in most cases, say experts.

Long-term trends positive?

CNBC quotes Walter Molony, spokesman for the National Association of Realtors, as saying that the market is“fundamentally healthy,” with a median price in 2007 of $195,000. He argues that while middle-age, middle-income folks -- i.e. baby boomers, are the main buyers now, Gen X and Gen Y (younger people) will come into the market right after them and will "fuel" the demand.

But you need to ask yourself how quickly those 20-to-45 year olds will recover from the current economic crisis. The older ones among them typically would be in their prime earning years. Instead, many are collecting unemployment insurance and more are sure to be in the same hole soon.

As CNBC concludes, buy for enjoyment first and investment value later. And "first-hand knowledge of the market will also help you avoid buying into a community that’s on the outs."

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