Who are the winners and losers in the housing market for 2009? It's too early to tell.
Many types of buyers, sellers and fence sitters seem well-positioned for a victory lap while others are lagging. Bankrate talked with real estate agents, academics, consumer advocates, industry watchers, buyers and sellers to discover who are the odds-on favorites, the nail-biters and the long shots.
Here, in no particular order, are some potential winners for this year:
14 real estate winners in 2009
|1. Buyers||8. Move-up buyers|
|2. First-time buyers||9. Con artists|
|3. Fence sitters||10. Buyers with fresh data|
|4. Buy-and-holders||11. Financially troubled homeowners|
|5. Real estate brokers||12. Cash buyers|
|6. Buyers with financing||13. Contented homeowners|
|7. Mortgage shoppers||14. Sellers in solid markets|
Buyers. "It's obviously a great year for buyers," says Robert Kiyosaki, co-author of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad." "Prices are still dropping and, if you have cash, they're even lower."
First-time buyers. "They're not saddled with a lot of debt and can take advantage of a lot of the state and federal programs," says William Poorvu, author of "Creating and Growing Real Estate Wealth" and professor emeritus at Harvard Business School. The $8,000 tax credit for first-timers who buy this year is especially popular.
Fence sitters. This time waiting may have paid off. Potential buyers now have a climate that combines low interest rates, low prices and, if they've never owned a home before, a sizable tax credit next April. "Anybody looking to buy a house that doesn't need to sell a house" is a potential winner, says Glen Lazovick, senior vice president for Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union. "Prices have come down; they can negotiate."
Buy-and-holders. "Real estate provides shelter," says Dick Gaylord, immediate past president of the National Association of Realtors, or NAR. "It provides a place to live. It's not a short-term investment." If you're looking for a good deal on a good home that you plan to live in for a long time, it's a great time to buy.
Real estate brokers. "Sales are bound to pick up a little bit," says Poorvu. "They've had a terrible year or two."
Buyers with financing. "Do the prequalification and, often, the financing up front," says Ron Phipps, broker of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. "Poor credit may not get it."
Mortgage shoppers. Buyers and potential buyers who research, shop and know their mortgage options can really come out ahead. "Local banks and credit unions are a source of good service and affordable money," says Phipps. For those who may not have 10 percent, 15 percent or 20 percent to put into a down payment, FHA is a popular option.