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Three years & counting

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POSTED January 7, 2011 8:36 p.m.
Three years into the great foreclosure meltdown and people are still wondering whether it is worth the risk of buying a home as they have fears over the future being uncertain.

Hello.

That’s what the future is - uncertain. It hasn’t happened so how can it be certain?

Granted there are trends and educated guesses based on track records. But when it all comes down to it, you can’t predict the future with absolute certainty. But you can look at it with a bit of rational thinking and common sense weighed against your needs and desires.

First everyone needs to understand what has really happened in Manteca once you set aside the vast majority of people who were caught up in the mortgage meltdown due to liar loans, unrealistic expectations concerning balloon payments, buying homes with no skin in the game, or getting a bit carried away and using their home equity as an ATM. In the past three years there has been $878 million worth of homes sold based on escrow closings in Manteca.

The vast majority of the 3,557 existing homes that were sold were bought by Manteca residents who were renters or those from nearby communities. It is the exact opposite of the previous 10 years where Bay Area buyers were dominating the market in their search for affordable housing given how high the cost of homes are near Bay Area jobs. Yes, a number of the homes were bought by investors including a number of local investors. But the bottom line is that homes are affordable once again in Manteca for people who work here.

The second folks realized that they started a buying stampede. In the first year there were 1,165 homes sold with a median closing price of $225,000 in 2008. The Greek Chorus called those folks stupid for buying as the market would probably still drop which it did. But they bought because it was comfortable financially to do so. Talk to some of those 2008 buyers now and they don’t regret their decision one iota. In fact, they will tell you they don’t regret the price they paid because they have been able to improve their lives.

In 2009, there were 1,211 homes sold with the median price of $178,000. Last year, there were 1,181 homes sold for a median price of $185,000.

That is in addition to 857 new homes bought in Manteca from 2008 to 2010. The median price of those homes was well over $120,000 more than the prices that existing homes secured. Virtually every home went to a buyer who is living in the home and not an investor.

True, the economy isn’t going gang busters but the truth is once you peel away the fear it never was bad for everyone and that includes many blue collar as well as white collar workers.

If you are interested in owning a home and have the wherewithal to finance a purchase, the only thing that is certain is that waiting will mean you will not have a home and it will get to the point eventually where you might not be able to do so.
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