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2008 Northwest Arkansas Housing Stats

An informative post at Ben Roberts’ blog Exit Real Estate 540. Surprising that housing prices only dropped 4.25% for 2008, but I wonder what the drop was in just the last quarter. The yearly number may be misleading.

Ben digests the stats and ends on an optimistic note:

“If you are considering buying a home….buy it. You won’t find a better time with better rates in the next decade. If you are considering selling your home….sell it. If you’ve bought smart and built equity, you should have no problems coming out fine in the transaction. Will you make a boat load of money, probably not….will you make it up on your next home….probably so. If you want to move or need to move, move. With more and more people realizing there’s deals to be had, inventories are going down, and God willing, prices are stabilizing and beginning the climb back up.”

I agree with him on the buying, and I kind of agree with him on the selling. I say kind of because the good time for buyers is never the good time for sellers, and vice versa. Although in this market you still have historically low interest rates which keeps your house more affordable for buyers. Plus tax credits for first time buyers and possibly more depending on which version of the stimulus passes.

The problem remains, though, that the easy credit of before is gone, and a buyer is most likely going to have something down to get a loan. Which limits the pool of buyers from what it was a few years ago. All in all though, he’s right, there has probably never been a better time to buy, and it’s not a completely terrible time to sell.

I do not share his hopefulness in a rebound though. It will be the few and the well capitalized who venture out with new purchases in 2009. There are too many jobs up in the air, and too many people know it. Arkansas has fared well as of late, both in Central Arkansas and to an extent in Northwest Arkansas. People still have to buy the basics and still have to eat. But the uncertainty is palpable, and foreclosures, at least from what I see and hear around the courthouse, are on the rise. That being said, let’s hope I’m wrong and he’s right.

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