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Posted: 1:42 p.m. Thursday, March 1, 2012

Extreme home buying opportunities abound



There has never been a better time in my lifetime for you to buy a home. No kidding. The opportunity is extreme. If your situation fits, don't miss the opportunity.

The news about housing is really at cross purposes at the moment. You have reports of sales picking up in many communities at the same time that home prices on average have taken a 10-year roundtrip back to the average of what they were in 2002 -- or 1998 in some of the hardest-hit markets!

For homeowners, that's been absolutely brutal -- though the flip side of that coin is that we're in a time of rising rents. The number of homeowners has dropped from around 70% to 65%. That's a difference of more than 15 million people who are now renters when before they were living in a home they were mortgaging. So you have landlords using dynamic demand software to raise rents as fast as they can.

On the other hand, the Federal Reserve is manipulating the mortgage market. So if you can get through the gauntlet, you can lock in at obscenely low mortgage rates at a time of incredibly depressed prices.

The opportunity for first time homebuyers is the best it's been in the last two generations.

For investors, you can do something today that almost never happened: Be cash-flow neutral or positive from the first month.

And if you're at the stage of life where you want to own a vacation home, those are the best deals of all. The economics of what it costs to own them are exceptional, especially if you're talking about one in an isolated area not near a major city.

So don't give me the "coulda, woulda, shoulda!"

I want to give you a real dollar example from my own life. In 1988, I bought a 2BR/BR ski condo with two other guys in Summit County, Utah. We bought from Resolution Trust Corp., a federal agency that no longer exists. The developer went bust, the owner of the unit foreclosed and the bank that financed had failed. There were no buyers at all.

This place was right at the ski slopes in Park City. Nice courtyard, nice underground parking, nice ski lockers and a great Jacuzzi. The price? $53,000. During the real estate bubble, we sold that place in two days for way, way, WAY more than we paid for it. Almost six times more.

This is one of those times that the opportunity is that extreme again because the cost of ownership is so low for real estate. Seize the day!