Forget A Christmas Carol this coming holiday season—folks should read aloud Keith O'Brien's fantastic Globe op-ed out today. It's on the titanic absurdity that home-buying and homeownership have become in the Boston area. The biggest takeaway? Whatever the prices and the sales pace and the real-estate-as-sport hereabouts, it may simply not be worth it to buy. Not emotionally not worth it—not worth it financially. Like, ever.
Over to O'Brien, whose own personal story includes selling a JP condo in 2009, vowing never to return to the area but then having to regardless:
The late '90s was a key time for Boston and other major cities, especially on the East and West coasts. Fueled by a strong economy, low unemployment, and attractive interest rates, this was the time to buy. "That was probably the tipping point," says Anne Thompson, an economist at Dodge Data & Analytics in Bedford ... And if you missed that window — or worse, you did what I did and bought at the peak, between 2003 and 2007 — "then," Thompson says, "you're kind of screwed." In the past decade, the Case-Shiller model shows that home sales prices are down by about 1 percent.
That's right: Appreciation ain't nearly as strong and consistent as people often assume; and certainly not as demonstrably strong as in the late 1990s and very early 2000s. Besides, as O'Brien notes: "Oh sure, you can still buy a home around here and live there till death do you part. But if the down payment wipes your savings clean, and your monthly mortgage makes it impossible to build it back up to where it should be, was it all really worth it?" Well?
Go read the op-ed in its entirety. Now.
· Is Buying a Home Around Boston Worth It Anymore? [Globe]