Has the house market hit bottom?

If the headline sounds strange, read on.

As someone who’s seen half a dozen booms and busts in Chicago, I find speculation about the future direction of “the housing market” to be incredibly tedious and pointless.

There are many 1,000s of housing sub-markets in Chicagoland, and each one has to be analyzed on its own merits.

In the case of many homes, the concept of a housing market is completely irrelevant. There’s a “house market” for specific homes that’s a one-time thing, and that time is while the home is for sale. The market has bottomed for some homes, and not for others, and the asking price is only a part of the story.

While concern about the future direction of “the housing market” has many potential buyers paralyzed with fear, a smaller number of buyers have moved quickly to take advantage of prices that may be as low as they’ll ever be.

If you see a home that’s perfect for you, but are fearful that it may sell in a year for 10% less than the current price, consider bidding 15 or 20% below that price. You might succeed at buying at the bottom of the market for that home – the house market. If prices do decline in the broader market, there’s no guarantee you’ll see a comparable home on the market when they do.

At 2:30 in the above video, Realtor Bob Darrow relates that a number of buyers have seen offers accepted that he believed to be too low.

Realtors often say “there’s never been a better time to buy,” and are scorned for saying it. I’d say, given the state of the market and interest rates, that “there may never be a better time to bid.”

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