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In the Berkshires...Buy Baby, Buy!

The recently unsuccessful vice presidential candidate added a memorable phrase to our repertoire but like her bid for office, the rallying cry for rampant oil exploration missed the mark.

By contrast the time is nigh for purchasing what have been deeply depressed value stocks and distressed real estate because, just as the sun follows the rain, day follows night, periods of prosperity always follow the dismal days of depression. While ours is by no means yet a full fledged depression, it has been broadly agreed to be a recession. Asset classes have declined; commodities have dropped dramatically in price. Let's be clear, this is a period of great opportunity, especially when the majority is still hunkering down in fear.

Right now I'm working with two different first time home buyers who are looking at purchasing homes that are easily half the price they were merely three years ago. Sure the homes need work but that has been factored in to the prices they will be paying and within a few years, once the economy has recovered, they will be sitting on market appreciation of 30-50% and equity growth that will be incalculable. How do you calculate growth in equity from no money down to $25- $40,000 in equity? Clearly this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these buyers who are choosing to ignore the fear (or maybe they are simply not reading the headlines or watching the evening news).

So, now really is one of those rare times. I just finished building a new home and I'll bet that if I had waited just six months to start the process, I might have saved money as building materials have continued to drop and land prices in some cases, as well. But who can really pick the bottom or the peak for that matter? And let's face it; most of us are not buying our home for its investment potential. It's our home first and foremost; our refuge, place of enjoyment and relaxation.

Its not just the first time homebuyer's best time to buy but also for the middle income earner and the wealthy alike. No matter what your financial circumstance, opportunities abound as there is a relative strong supply of inventory and a relative lack of competition, other buyers. As I have already witnessed several other times in my 34 years in the real estate business, this is a great opportunity and one that many will look back on with "could haves" and "should haves" and the fortunate and foresightful ones will say "glad I took the chance". 

The real point of this entry is that there has rarely been a better time to be a buyer than right now, this winter, before the "Obama effect" takes hold and then spring fever takes hold as buyers traditionally flock to the market following the long cold winter months.

Paul Harsch, president

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