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Real Estate Guide 2007
2007 overview
The real estate market was bed-ridden last year but 2007 brings new hope the market will get back on its feet.
2007 Overview
Housing market up or down? Think location

One of the most important things about the real estate market is that it can look entirely different, depending on where you're standing. National trends are meaningful, but what's happening in your state affects you more directly. What's going on in your county is even more important. And in your town far more important than the county. And so on, right down to your street and the houses adjacent to you.

The more locally you regard it, the more you will know about real estate and its impact on your life. That's what "location, location, location" is all about.

We all hear the real estate market is down, depressed, lethargic, bursting, deflating ... whatever. Last fall, homeowners in New York, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Massachusetts saw prices fall from the previous quarter. But from September 2005 to September 2006, homes in Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Arizona enjoyed double-digit appreciation of close to or above 17 percent.

Sales figures also lagged in some parts of the country. Sellers held out for the prices they wanted and buyers waited for better deals promised by the buyer's market. Sellers expect appreciation and buyers want discount prices.

It's been a buyer's market and continues to be a good time for buyers. Affordability is up, incomes are rising and home prices have stalled or are, in some cases, declining. But many experts believe an acceptance of somewhat lower prices by sellers, a smaller volume of homes on the market, increasing income levels and rising interest rates could be contributing factors to cause the buyer's market to disappear by the end of 2007 and be replaced by a neutral market that favors neither buyer nor seller.

Which all leads up to a very interesting spring real estate season that's about to get under way. Are you a buyer? A seller? An interested observer? Did your bubble burst? Just hiss a little? Or did you see double-digit appreciation? What will this season mean for you? Bankrate's Guide to Real Estate 2007 aims at providing insight and perspective, as well as facts and figures to help you achieve your real estate goals.

-- Posted: March 8, 2007
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