Is now a good time to buy a home?

Don't focus on falling prices, focus on long-term goals

Last year, the home sale market began to slow, causing many buyers to postpone buying hoping that prices would drop. In fact, in some areas and in some segments of the market, prices have declined. However, in high-demand markets like San Francisco, Austin and Seattle, prices increased compared to a year ago, particularly for upper-end properties. When interest rates fell below 6.5 percent at the beginning of 2007, San Francisco Bay Area buyers were back competing against one another in a low-inventory market. Was it wise for these buyers to postpone buying until 2007? Waiting resulted in lower interest rates, but in many cases, a higher purchase price. Mass psychology influences home-buying patterns. For example, when buyers decide that it is not a good time to buy due to fear of falling prices or rising interest rates, this notion tends to become a self-fulfilling prophesy. When the volumes of home sales drop, buyers tend to hold back. When sales heat up, buyers perceiv...