If any of you have not read reports about hedge fund investor and Wall Street prognosticator John Paulson's recent speech about the economy, I can summarize it this way: Buy real estate. He told listeners that, if they didn't own a house, they should run out and buy one. If they did own one, they should buy a second home. If they already had two, they should buy a third and loan their relatives money to buy homes as well. He called it the best time in 50 years to purchase real estate, mostly thanks to historically low interest rates.
Since we are used to seeing all the stages of a real estate cycle, we know that we are at the bottom, and hope that we may even be starting up. While sales fell badly in the third quarter, due in large part to the expiration of the tax credit, prices in our region only dropped 1 to 2%. That's far less than most people think prices are off, and shows that the underlying value is solid.
Now ask yourself how you will feel next year if you do not buy now, and prices, sales, and interest rates all go up in the intervening time period. If you feel that you have enough house and enough mortgage debt, even with the prices and rates, then you'll be fine. But will you be kicking yourself if that house you coveted is now $100,000 more, and rates are up to 6 or 7%? If so, then you know what you have to do. So, as Nike says, just do it!