As an investment strategy Buy Low and Sell High is simple and effective. And if we could see just get to the future without leaving the present we’d know if today is a buy low day. Rats.
I’ve seen a real estate bubble burst. In the run-up we denied a housing bubble was an economic reality, until it splattered. Are we approaching the next bubble? Maybe. The fuel driving our market today is different than the gas of 2001-2008 in the way air and helium differ. The outcome of too much of either pumped into a balloon makes the same BANG when the over inflated balloon bursts.
Is this a “good” real estate market? I don’t know. Define good. Good for who? As of today, 4/16/19, we are in an furiously competitive market at some price points, and in some neighborhoods. West side Madison buyers looking for homes under $250,000 will find the home they want to own is the same home a dozen or more people are trying to buy. (I saw 18 offers on a house Monday, and there were more coming in.) We can be certain, this house is not being sold low, and unless there is no truth to the fact that what goes up must come down, selling high in the future is less likely than selling lower.
Should you buy a house today? It depends on all aspects of your situation. Regardless of what your friends are doing, or what a banker or REALTOR tell you to do, only after considering all factors, objectives, intents, expectations, and options can you know if attempting to own is prudent in this market. Do check your expectations. If you expect to find a bargain you should expect to be disappointed. Even home sellers who make a mistake and price too low are safe as long as they invite more than one person to look at their home.
A smart expectation to achieve home ownership is to come prepared to own. Expecting to negotiate leads to certain failure. Enough people have paid the price to learn house buying is not a business of price negotiating today. You will be up against them. It’s OK to be hopeful, but eventually you will either quit or concede to the facts. If you want to own a home, think in terms of being the buyer you know the seller wants to meet. Don’t be the buyer the seller can’t depend on. Put yourself in the seller’s shoes. Would you get into business with you if you have options? This isn’t poker. Bluffing is a waste of time. Put your best foot forward if you want to own a home. And remember, home ownership is not investing. For a home to be a wise investment financially, trust the fundamental fact, real estate is a long term investment. Some folks win in the short term, but this market does not have what it takes to be short term winners. A home is a home first, second, and third.