Maybe it’s time to buy that first house….

That’s what New York Times journalist Ron Lieber discusses in Saturday’s Business Section.  You can find a copy of the article here.  Of course, nobody really knows where the real estate market is headed but Lieber suggests that now could be a good time to buy.  Here are a few of the takeaways:

  • First-time home-buyers presumably have the down-payment sitting in the bank, so they can benefit from the drop in home values without having to worry about selling their own home in a depressed market to raise the downpayment.
  • Mortgage interest rates are currently pretty low by historical standards and could go lower if the federal government decides to try to drive them lower.  If you can lock in a low rate for 30 years, that seems pretty smart.
  • The best deals may be in “new” housing, where developers are desperate to get out from under bloated inventories.  Those inventories, however, are falling as construction of new projects has come to a halt.  With winter being a traditionally slow time to move houses, now may be a particularly good time to buy.

Along these lines, a loan officer recently told me that he’d heard of a downtown high-rise condo that was listed for $1.1 million and was sold by the developer for $770,000 — just enough to pay off the loan amount attributable to the unit.

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