The resurgence of home buying!

With all the fear-inducing talk of foreclosures and short sales, there has not been much positive press in the past many months.  However, while that coverage has pointed out a real issue in the housing industry, it has ignored another part of it...namely that owning a house is still worthwhile.  There is a great article in the New York Times written by Karl Case of the Case-Schiller Report.  It is quite insightful and worth reading.  I'm sorry I can't provide a link here, but I encourage you to read it.  The title is “A Dream House After All”.

In that article he discusses several good points:

  1. Housing has never been cheaper, and is a great buy today.
  2. Prices will soon start to rise.
  3. Tax-free capital gains when we sell a property
  4. That we can deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes.

One other thing he talks about is "imputed rent". He says, "you live in a house and so it provides you with a real flow of valuable services. This part of the yield is counted as part of national income by the Commerce Department. It is the equivalent of about a 6% return on your investment after maintenance and repair, and it is constant over time in real terms."; i.e. if you rent, you pay a landlord.  If you own a house, you pay yourself.

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