Wednesday, June 24, 2009

falling prices are annoying

I'm looking to buy a place in a north Denver suburb.

I don't expect to make money on it, but I don't expect to lose a lot of money on it, either. I figure it'll be a good inflation hedge if things go that way, but mostly it is a lifestyle decision.

The only problem is that prices in the area have been nearly flat for a decade now. This sounds like it would be good news for a buyer, but it isn't. What it means is that there are three types of places on the market: distressed sales of run down houses, grossly overpriced HGTV-inspired amateur flips, and owners with unrealistic price expectations because they need to sell for at least 10% more than they bought for just to break even.

For a buyer, all of these options are bad. It means the only way to buy a place that hasn't been trashed by an angry debtor or abused by the HGTV-addled crowd is to pay significantly above market values. Nowadays, even that is not so simple, since appraisals have become so much more strict.

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