Where Buyers are Picking Up Housing Bargains

Smart investors in all parts of the country are picking up fabulous housing bargains.

Bill Leon, president of Florida’s Broward (County) Real Estate Investors Association, has been buying and selling investment property for years, but he thinks today’s deals are unprecedented. “People are afraid not to sell because they don’t know where the bottom of the market is,” he says.

David Dweck, a hard-money lender, believes the best buys are in what he calls “workforce housing,” aging bungalows on small lots. They are selling for as little as 10 cents on the dollar compared to what they were going for in 2006, he says, then fixed up and resold or rented quickly.

“People have been beaten down by fear, negativity, constant media bombardment,” says Dweck. “There is a silver lining. The future looks bright.”

Sheresa Pompay, an associate with Hunt Real Estate ERA in Chandler, Ariz., says bad publicity is good for real estate investors. “I love the people who read about all the gloom and doom, because they stay on the sidelines and go, ‘It hasn’t hit bottom.’ Whatever. By the time everyone jumps back in, we’ll be out and doing something else.”

Fortune magazine predicts that these will be the 10 worst-performing real-estate markets – and the best places for finding bargains – in 2009:

Los Angeles, down -24.9 percent
Stockton, Calif., -24.7 percent
Riverside, Calif. -23.3 percent
Miami-Miami Beach, -22.8 percent
Sacramento, -22.2 percent
Santa Ana-Anaheim, Calif., -22 percent
Fresno, Calif., -21.6 percent
San Diego, Calif., 21.1 percent
Bakersfield, Calif., -20.9 percent
Washington, D.C., -19.9 percent

Source: Fortune, David Whitford

* Take note, owner occupant buyers- don’t let fear keep you from getting in the game!

Rent-to-Own Gaining Favor Once Again

Rent-to-own options are becoming popular again after falling out of favor during the last couple of decades when mortgages were easy to get.

The advantages of rent-to-own to buyers include a way around poor credit, an opportunity to rebuild credit worthiness and a way to try out homeownership without making a costly commitment.

For sellers, it offers cash flow from properties that might otherwise just be sitting there.

In some parts of the country, like Florida, rent-to-own arrangements are fairly commonplace, but in other parts of the country developers are only beginning to experiment with this form of purchase.

In the Boston area, Economic Development Financing Corp. (EDFC) and Trinity Financial are two affordable-home developers that have introduced experimental rent-to-own programs. Eric Gedstad, spokesman for MassHousing, a state agency that finances housing construction, says his agency is supportive.

“As the lender, we are gratified that the developer has cash coming in. It makes sense for potential homeowners. The more time that goes by the better the opportunity for someone to repair his credit.”

Source: Boston Globe, Robert Preer