7 reasons to buy a house before 2014

Thinking about taking the plunge and buying a home? The next few months might just be the time to do it.

By MSN Real Estate partner Sep 20, 2013 7:09AM

By Sabah Karimi


U.S. News & World ReportIf you've been thinking about taking the plunge and buying a home, the last quarter of 2013 might just be the time to do it.


Image: Shaking hands with Realtor © Design Pics/Don Hammond/Getty ImagesRates on fixed-rate loans are still appealing, and experts say it's still cheaper to buy than rent. Some financial institutions are also a little more lax with their loan qualification requirements this year.


Here are seven reasons to buy a home by the end of the year:


1. Mortgage rates are still dropping. The average rate for a 30-year fixed rate loan is 4.50 percent at the time of publication. While this is a 1.15 percent increase from the historic low of 3.35 percent at the end of 2012, it's still an attractive rate for prospective homebuyers. The housing sector is getting stronger and inflation rates are low, which promotes low mortgage rates.


2. It's still cheaper to buy than rent. If you live in a metropolitan area, it may make more financial sense to buy a home than rent a house, condo or apartment. According to a 2012 Trulia Trends study, buying a home is 44 percent cheaper than renting in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States. While this data was calculated based on last year's lower mortgage rates, there is still a significant price difference in total monthly costs with today's rates.


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3. Home prices are relatively low. Housing price trends vary significantly by location and even by neighborhood, but the average housing price trends across the country look promising for prospective homebuyers. The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas increased only 1 percent this past season, so 2013 could still be a great time to buy.


4. It may be easier to get a mortgage. Credit unions and banks may be making it easier for some prospective buyers to qualify for a mortgage. Less stringent requirements and qualifying criteria may help some people finally get that home loan. If you have good credit and some savings available for a down payment, you might just be able to get a loan for your dream home this year.


5. Less competition from home flippers. Investors looking to buy and flip houses can't move as quickly as they did in recent years. Housing prices in some markets are increasing, making house flipping less attractive. This gives prospective homebuyers more inventory to choose from and the benefit of having less pressure to close a deal because of another pending offer. This could be the time to enjoy the freedom of shopping around for that perfect home and making an offer.


6. Avoid the cost of rising rent. A buyer's market means it might be time to say goodbye to renting for good. If you're tired of rent increases at your current location or want to move but will experience a spike in rent, consider the benefits of buying a home instead. You may be able to secure a great rate with your credit history and end up paying the equivalent or less in monthly payments as you build equity in a home. Renting can be a more affordable option for the short term, but renters still have to face rising rental costs year after year.


7. Invest in your future. Buying a home gives you a chance to start building equity, and you are investing in your future. Even if you end up selling your home in five or 10 years, you could profit from the sale and invest that money elsewhere. If you've been dealing with rising rent or the hassles of costly moves for the past few years, settling in to a home can stabilize your housing expenses – especially if you get a fixed-rate loan at a great rate. You won't have to worry about your monthly housing expenses changing significantly for a few years, and you will pay for something that has more value than a rental property. Consider the benefits of making this type of contribution to your future month after month.


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Mar 13, 2014 2:57AM
I already own a house. I don't think these should be the reason to buy a house. If you think you have the finance to buy one, buy it. Or, if you think you can afford to payback a mortgage loan taken, own it. I owned my place after getting loan from Safebridge Financial Group in GTA Ontario. They offered good lower rates, it was good for me. But I will stick to what I said in the beginning for those who are thinking of owning a home.
Sep 28, 2013 8:57PM
*lel It's articles like this that got the U.S. into the 2008 housing crisis. 1 reason not to get into the housing market - if you can't afford to, don't.
Sep 28, 2013 3:51PM
Think about this,  What was the interest rates during Jimmy Carter, Answer 19%, We are headed that way slow or fast, This Government wants chaos,, If they didnt they would push Natural gas and oil. The soviets have one tax rate, we have 60,000 pages, The Soviets are about to supply europe with oil,  Our President wants nothing to do with Stability, Interest rates will be in the 6s this time next year, that would mean an extra 150.00$ per month on 250,000k over 4.375% Yesterday, JUST INTEREST. Some believe their will be a 50% correction in the market , Maybe, Some believe that Syria thing could lead to the Suez canal being blocked and 140.00$ per barrel for oil, or 7.00$ per gallon for fuel, who knows..  But as Long as Our President is in the White House expect chaos..  Study and only buy what you can afford on one paycheck in a two paycheck household, that will give you peace of mind if nothing else..  Where i work (health care) our WHOLE kitchen staff went to part time, ALL of our outlying health care facilites WENT TO PART TIME.  People are scared, Obama care will lead to much worse.  It isnt R's or D's, ITS WHO's SIDE WASHINGTON ARE U ON.  God Bless
Sep 28, 2013 3:49PM
There's only one reason to buy a house before or after 2014....you need a place to live.   Otherwise, you'll be buying someone else a house instead...pretty cut and dry.  Forget the hype.
Sep 28, 2013 6:37AM
....and the 8th reason NOT TO is - because it is a really, really bad idea - economy sucks - hang on until the bottom falls out - then you can pick homes up for a song. Remember the fun times everybody had during the great depression: Dirty 30's? 
Sep 28, 2013 4:05AM
I just purchased a home with 3.5% interest,  however,  it certainly wasn't easy!!!  
This article was obviously written by a realtor!

Sep 25, 2013 4:53PM
My home is on the market because I am moving out of state.  It was a 70s museum when I bought it in 2010.  I have spent a great deal of time and money updating and renovating it.  It now looks very stylish and is in much better condition than when I bought it.  Still, I got a ridiculously low offer on the house today and didn't know whether to laugh or cry.  One nice thing is the tax benefits of home ownership that you don't get when you rent.  I'm in no hurry to sell, so I'll wait out a better offer.  Meanwhile, I still have a lovely home to live in, even though I'm tired of the cold winters here.
Sep 25, 2013 9:18AM

Any VETS out there? I used the VA Loan process and didn't have to put 20% down and go thru all the hoops. If you are a VET you would be a fool NOT to use the VA Loan. Being a VET avoids hunting for the money. Bam, you are prequalified for at least $350K (check out their details, depending where you live). Check it out, it was the only way I could have moved into a dream home on 1/2 acre. The cost???? On a $250K home, my wife took out $25K from her 401(k) and I was the vet who got the VA Loan. Our cost came to.....10% down. After 1 year, we refied from 4.3% to a 3.2% loan. VET USE THE VA LOAN!!!!!!

Sep 25, 2013 9:08AM

Rhetoric aside, as long as you breathe, you'll have to have some type of housing, buy it or rent it. The big difference is that is you have any intelligence and have kept informed, this time in the housing market will not come again. Renters are saying their's is the right way, but I'll tell you what changed me.....


My wife and I were renting at the time, a terrible place, we would drive 15 mins to a laundramat to avoid the neighborhood. We had been doing wash there for 3 years. One day, we watched an elderly couple hobble in and commence doing their wash. It was then that my wife and I decided that we did NOT want to end up like that, still renting.


NOW is the time to get a house, when rents cost more than a home, what is the point of renting? Our rent was $1300 for a 2 bedroom in the ghetto. Our house payment is now almost $900, not including insurance, taxes and such. What does the renter get back on their "investment?" If you can afford it, houses will never be this cheap again, the interest rates will never be this low again, especially after the Fed stops spending $85 BILLION A MONTH to shore up the stock market.,


When your rent goes up, and then goes up again, and then goes up, remember those fools that are warm and snug in their HOMES and all the benefits you miss out on. Sure there are cost, but that is the "cost" of living.


It's not to late...........

Sep 25, 2013 8:58AM

Articles like this only get people worried about "missing their chance at homeownership."  This can lead to mistakes and errors in judgment!   Set a price that you are comfortable with, not what the bank, broker or agent says you "can qualify for."  This means do not buy more house than you can pay for and still pay your other financial obligations (food, utilities, insurance, taxes, etc.).  Don't rely on brokers or agents look out for your best interests.  They make their living by selling not educating."  If you want to buy a house you must educate yourself.  A start can be an amazon ebook "stuff I told my kids about how to buy your first house."  I got this for my kids (24 and 21) to read so they can get some basic info BEFORE they see anything with a real estate agent.

Sep 25, 2013 8:24AM
Wow, sure are a lot of dumb people here.  Well that is exactly what the current political structure wants.  People to live paycheck to paycheck with no savings.
I lost my house in 2011, bought the house I am in now last Fall.  I had to rent for a year and a half and got scorched on taxes.  My house is now worth $100K more than I bought it for and I will be getting money back after this tax year.
For the dummies out there, please keep thinking that way and I will soon have houses I can rent you at a higher price than the mortgage and taxes and still make a profit.  Then I will raise the rent a $100/mo every year so soon I will not have to work.  LOL all the way to the bank.
Sep 25, 2013 7:41AM
A bunch of bull to push the housing market probably written by realtor families, there are lot of hidden costs in buying over renting , one you owe about 3k - 5k  to close a loan, you don't owe that renting, you owe a down,  which could be $1000's, you don't owe that renting and if you chose your landlord right you  l and take care of the place you get your deposit back.  The house market being stronger is unknown or gain any  profit is unknown , you you may not be gaining and in fact lots of people lost  $100,000  or more in valve in the fall , hence the large amount of short sales and foreclosures' and renting they wouldn't of lost that.  The realtor are driving on these foreclosures and short sales now to show an improved market in a lot of area's. There were 1000's of shorts sales in one of our large cities close by, just about every other house add  was a short sale. Well for sure sales picked up from people losing as more and more than 100k. but thats starting to dry up so you could see another drop in the market in the next few month if realtor cant sell you this bull.Realtors alway point to some area to show improvement but some of those area like LA are over populated and prices are always going up do to the shortage and they are sky high as my niece and hubby try to buy a 11000 sf house built in the 60s for $800k after selling an old beach condo for $500k. thats not a fair judgement of the market and those people run on 40-50 year loans to afford that too and not the common 30 year loan.
Sep 25, 2013 6:57AM
I would love to buy a new home.. but we've done so much work.. I hate to leave!! :)

Sep 25, 2013 6:55AM
wow.. I didn't know it was cheaper to buy than to rent! Very useful information you have here! Thanks for sharing!
Sep 25, 2013 4:52AM

Buy a house when you are good and ready and stable.  Don't rush!  The market will be whatever it is when you are ready.  Don't worry about that now if you are not ready.  Better to pay 3% more on your mortgage down the road, and be in a house that you love, than to buy something that is simply the best house available for your current price range, only to want to sell it 3 years later because of some big life changing event.


If you are going to buy a house, make sure you are ready to stay there for at least 20 years.  Don't get a mortgage with plans to refinance every chance you get.  Let the mortgage age so you have a chance at actually paying down the principal. 


And while we're at it, don't keep buying new cars.  Pay your car off and keep it for as long as you can with no car payment.


These are the best ways to financial gains/freedom for us poor people.


Sep 25, 2013 4:36AM

D Cox,


If you put 20% down on the purchase of a home, you already have quite a bit of equity.  Also, when you sell your home, you do not pay taxes on it unless you profit over $250,000 or haven't lived in it for a period of 2 years or more.

Sep 25, 2013 4:25AM

buying a home is such a waste of cash.  The only real benefit you get from it is the credit score points. 


All these writers try to trick you into the equity claim, but what about the typical maintenance costs of owning a home?  They talk about selling your home in 5 years for a profit.  Yeah Right!  The first 5 years you pay almost nothing towards principal and when you sell it you have to pay the realtor for selling it.  Odds are you will lose money if you sell your house before 12 years of ownership.


As to the maintenance unless you have a house made of composit materials throughout (which no house is) you have repairs that need to be made yearly.  Furnace doesnt last forever, water heater either.  New carpets after a few years, repainting interior walls, painting the exterior of the house if there is wood.  These are things most people NEVER think about when it comes to buying and selling a house.  But the biggest one is the realtor fees and not to mention if you profit from the sale of your house you have to pay taxes on it.


The only true way to come out ahead if you are to buy a house is to live in it until its paid off and use as many composit materials as possible.  They have a lot longer life span.

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