The national news is constantly running alarming headlines about real estate sales these days, and in many markets, there are good reasons to be concerned. However, you need to know what's happening in your local market before you make decisions based on faulty assumptions.
For instance, I went to the North Texas MLS (NTREIS), and ran a simple search for the entire North Texas region for properties that were posted as sold for year to date 2010 (through August 25th) versus year to date 2009. The results even surprised me, as the total number of residential single family sales were down barely 1% (about 500 sales less out of more than 43,000 total), but the average sales price was up almost 4.5%! Ask anyone on the street what they think those numbers are and I promise you the answers will be far, far different (more negative) and you have to ask yourself why that is, and more importantly, what it means for you. Who are you listening to?
Bottom line, a lot of people are still buying and selling homes in North Texas, contrary to what you might be led to believe by the national news, which is often reported by the local news as if it is local market conditions. And why shouldn't they be buying? I'm seeing interest rates now on a 30 year note near 4.0%, rates I've never seen in my career! Smart people are taking advantage of this opportunity of a lifetime. Run the numbers on a mortgage calculator and see how much more you can afford with a 4.0% interest rate versus a 7% or 8% loan. It's truly amazing, and the dollars you save over the years are astounding, and often never calculated by buyers. I've seen savvy buyers move their loans across the street to save 1/4 point, because they know the power of saving on an interest rate!
Ask a real estate professional to tell you what the actual market conditions are for your part of the country. Negative news always leads in the press, but that is often NATIONAL news, and the negative headlines are meant to get and keep your attention. You have to know your local market conditions in order to make a smart decision.