A place to put random occurrences in my life...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Is it the right time to buy a house?

ZoneTag Photo Monday 12:23 pm 3/3/08 San Diego...Image by freshelectrons via Flickr

Thien and I have recently started looking for homes in the Carlsbad area. I should have known better, but I mistakenly made this known to the world in a Twitter message. I received a few bewildered replies via Twitter, Facebook, email, IM, and phone - all within 30 minutes of my tweet. I think that my friends/family were a bit surprised that I am now considering moving back to San Diego after just a year in Los Angeles.

For myself and Thien, I think the reality is that although Santa Monica is great, San Diego feels much more like home to us. We had planned to make this move eventually, but given the dynamics in both the real estate market and the stock market, I'm not sure there will be a better time to make the move - at least from a financial perspective - in the near future.

Do I think that either the stock or real estate markets have hit their bottoms? Absolutely not. But I do think that real estate will stabilize first. And even if it doesn't, I'm ultimately buying a roof over my head, something physical to call my own, a bit of the American dream, etc. - and I get a write off to boot. And at the same time, the stock market still seems so volatile to me, that I've had to keep my money in cash. I think the time is right (or almost right) to put that cash into a physical asset that has a decent chance to appreciate from current levels - over a ten year period.

For illustration purposes, the chart below shows the house values in Carlsbad over the past five years. Prices are now below what they were in 2005 - and I actually think Zillow is a bit slow in showing the true decline, so I would venture to say that we are actually below 2004 prices.



Obviously the prices were significantly overinflated throughout 2006 and even going into 2007, but the properties we're looking at really do seem cheap to us.

Anyway, we haven't found our next house yet, but we're definitely looking and hoping for something great!
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