Are you petrified to buy a home right now? And why wouldn't you be?

The unemployment rate hit the highest it has been since 1983, the stock market is volatile and unappealing, and today, it seems people are hording their money in gold as the commodity surged passed $1,000 an ounce.

So is it a right time to invest in an abode? Yes, according to Diann Patton, the Coldwell Banker consumer real-estate spokeswoman.

Despite all the other factors that may be out of whack at the moment, there are several encouraging elements in the market at the moment that make this an ideal buyer's market..

"For one, the number of homes on the market is at an all-time high," Patton said in a recent interview with wowOwow. "State and federal governments are offering a number of tax breaks that make many nervous buyers feel right at home. Interest rates have hit lows that we haven't seen since 1964. And home prices are at levels that were seen in 2003."


Congress has attempted to lure consumers when it passed legislation earlier this year that grants a tax break of up to $8,000 to virgin home buyers. The First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit expires Dec. 1, and Realtor.com lays out the incentive in simplest terms.

In addition to Uncle Sam's generosity, approximately 13 states currently shell out cash or tax breaks for purchasing a home. States such as California, Kentucky and Pennsylvania have their own unique programs to appeal to both virgin and veteran shoppers. To see if your state is dangling money like a carrot, visit ThinkGlink.com, which offers brief descriptions on each program.

After you educate yourself on the latest housing incentives, do not just carpe diem and buy a new home. No, no no.... especially if you fear a pink slip in the near future (Click here if you happen to have recently received one).

Buying a house is a major decision -- financially and emotionally. However, if you are feeling pretty financially secure and a foreclosure is calling your name -- coupled with low mortgage rates and government cash bait -- click here for seven smart house-hunting tips to help you and your mate find that home sweet home.

Tell us: Have you purchased a home recently? Did you land a nice tax break? Did you experience any difficulties securing a mortgage?

wowOwow.com is a Web site aimed at influential women over 40, much like its distinguished founders and contributors, which include Marlo Thomas, Lesley Stahl, Candice Bergen, Liz Smith, Joni Evans, Mary Wells and Whoopi Goldberg.


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