It’s a buyer’s market. It’s a seller’s market. Can both statements be true? Can both be false?
As home prices stagnate a tad here in North Kitsap while assessed valuations continue an ever present upswing, both claims are no doubt being made by real estate agents, prospective homebuyers and those hoping to sell as the peak season winds down. Fall is quickly approaching and in many cases, homes that have sat on the market throughout the spring and summer months will remain there for the slower sales times that accompany the shorter, colder days ahead.
For those seeking to get into a new home, fall and winter can prove a perfect time to buy as sellers’ motivation to drop their prices is more likely. This might have spelled great things in 2006, but with recent mortgage changes taking place throughout the nation, the latter part of 2007 may be a different story altogether.
With lenders backing away from the popular and, apparently misused 0 percent down loans, it raises the simple question as to who exactly can afford to buy a home in Kitsap these days. The American Dream is getting out of a reach for many and despite efforts to create more housing here, adding to the market and thus lowering prices countywide, home ownership in terms of wages here is still an unattainable goal for many.
Houses under $200,000 are growing scarce but it seems the amount of those who can afford such homes is dropping, too. If new lending measures take hold, old practices that call for down payments could become the norm once again. Not too long ago, 10 percent was the going rate for a down payment. On a $200,000 home, that’s $20,000.
Some would argue that this is par for the course. That the down payment system helps prospective homebuyers work harder for the privilege — not right, mind you — of ownership. That said, $200,000 homes being harder and harder to come by and furthermore, how many middle-income families have $20,000 set aside? Saving that kind of money takes years for typical households and during that time frame, housing prices continue to climb or simply hold at a level too exorbitant for many to afford.
They have in Kitsap.
Meanwhile, whether this county will follow the odd trend taking place in King, where there is a glut of homes and prices are still on the rise, has yet to be determined. With the possible impending changes in lending, coupled with income levels here, let’s hope this isn’t the case.