I recently saw a commercial paid for by the National Association of Realtors informing us that no matter what anyone says, it's a great time to buy.
Maybe that's true: With interest rates this low and a wide selection of homes available in many markets, I think it probably is. But the problem is that the National Association of Realtors has been running these ads forever. In a February, 2008 commercial, the NAR broadcast a commercial explaining that buying a home is "a good move, for your family, and toward building long-term wealth?" In most markets, that turned out not to be the case, with many buyers who put 20% down already under water.
In 2007, the NAR ran a commercial proclaiming that "when you have a family it's always a good time to buy," which is total, complete, unmitigated crap. Buying a home that's about to plunge in value, wiping out your down payment and trapping you in a house you would need cash to sell is not good for your family.
The new 2009 commercial advises consumers that "If you're waiting for the right time to buy a home, the wait may be over. Mortgages are available and interest rates are low." The wait may be over: But not if you followed NAR's advice and bought in 2007, right before two years of near-record home price declines. If you bought then, you don't have any money.
My best advice for the NAR? Shut up. Homeownership is a great thing for many, many people, but your irresponsible greed and cheerleading has completely ruined your credibility. All the lobbying you've done in Washington to dump taxpayer money into the housing market hasn't helped to stabilize home prices in many markets. People who've followed your advice over the past couple years have been royally screwed over.
Instead of offering what amount to re-runs of commercials from past years, the NAR should air an apology.
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