Thursday, December 11, 2008

HGTV’s FrontDoor.com Offers the Top 10 Things to Expect in the Housing Market in 2009

(BUSINESS WIRE)--After the too-good-to-be-true housing boom in the first half of this decade, 2008 was a dose of reality. The subprime mortgage crisis and the collapse of major financial institutions made this a tough year for real estate. Expect 2009 to be filled with more change and adjustment in home values and expectations. On a positive note, help is on the way from the Feds, and some experts say a slow recovery could begin in late 2009. Prepare yourself for the challenges -- and opportunities -- of 2009 by getting familiar with FrontDoor.com’s expectations in the housing market. (http://www.frontdoor.com/top10)

1. Continued market adjustments. With home prices in some markets having reached astronomical levels, it was inevitable a reset button be pushed. Sellers will continue to be challenged in 2009 as the inflated pricing of years past adjusts to normal levels. With banks and builders willing to slash prices to sell a backlog of foreclosures and new homes, individual sellers will have to price their homes competitively.

2. Action from the Obama administration. President-elect Barack Obama's plan to help the housing sector includes a 10 percent mortgage tax credit for homeowners who don't itemize their taxes and a crackdown on abusive lending practices.

3. More assistance programs for homeowners in danger of foreclosure. While the federal government is attempting to reduce foreclosures, a report released by the Joint Economic Committee predicts 2 million foreclosures in 2009. Homeowners who are at risk should take steps to avoid foreclosure.

4. Some calm to the chaos of the banks' restructuring. This should cause loan modifications and short sales to get easier, and it will also (eventually) decrease the number of bank-owned properties on the market.

5. Thorough reviews of mortgage applications. Before the subprime mortgage debacle, you didn't have to prove you could afford to borrow $200,000 for a home and you didn't need a down payment. Those days of sketchy lending practices are gone. Lenders now require potential borrowers to provide extensive income and expense documentation. Homebuyers with the best credit will get the lowest interest rates. Take steps now to get your finances in order and boost your credit score.

6. Low prices and low interest rates. 2009 could be the time for reluctant homebuyers to act, as this is perhaps the last year of the best buying opportunity in recorded economic history.

7. Cool tech tricks and tools for the real estate obsessed. As homebuyers turn to the Web more and more for their real estate needs, video, webcasts and mobile search tools are becoming more prevalent. Sellers should consider using these cutting-edge tools to make their homes stand out.

8. Wiser consumers. After facing this foreclosure crisis, buyers, sellers, real estate agents and even tenants will have a deeper understanding of real estate, mortgage and credit, which they can use to make better decisions and be more self-protective in the future.

9. Leaner, greener homebuying. Across the board, homebuying is becoming more eco-friendly, from transactions being conducted digitally to buyers opting for smaller homes within walking distance of school and work.

10. An increase in consumer confidence. As the year goes on and we near the projected end of the recession, sellers can breathe a sigh of relief as buyers regain confidence in the market.

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