A Time to Sow

Spring is a time to cultivate and invest in the future. In March, many Long Island farmers begin the season by turning over their fields for planting. And most fully anticipate success come harvest time. (That’s not to say the process isn’t accompanied by a quick prayer that good weather will be a stable partner.)

With many forecasting economic growth in 2012, this year may provide the best opportunity to buy real estate. I know in the past I have parroted the adage there is no bad time to invest in real estate. Given the real estate market’s awful state of affairs, let me qualify that statement by saying it remains a good investment if you are in it for the long-term.

Market analysts now assert that the residential real estate market has—finally—bottomed out and a recovery is imminent. All are hopeful that this year’s market performance will be the best since 2005, which signaled the end of prosperity and the beginning of austerity.

The fuel necessary to power the real estate engine remains abundant. Interest rates have held at record lows, the value of preexisting homes has settled and there is a growing perception that the economy is beginning to awaken, making now a good time to look at real estate as a valid and, more importantly, safe investment. The market just needs a spark.

The uptick in consumer confidence experienced during the holiday season is seen as a glimmer of hope that may ignite the real estate market. That optimism should carry over and build interest in real estate. The fact that job creation appears to be on the rise is further proof that the dark times may soon end. It’s not rocket science that adding jobs generates consumer confidence, which all markets rely on for performance, and real estate is no exception.

The market’s slumber does not mean that builders have been lying dormant. Many have been working behind the scenes in order to hit the ground running once interest grows, and that should create numerous home-buying options. Much like crocuses poking through the frost, growing interest in open houses is beginning to surface. Realtors’ phones are starting to ring.

Now may be the best time to invest in a home because of the flexibility offered. Your new home could likely be purchased at a significant discount. And there are opportunities out there for savvy investors to find homes that could prove profitable through renovation and reselling or, depending on the zoning, renting. Either option could help grow your bank account.

conor bly

Conor Bly has been writing about Long Island for the past 14 years covering, well, pretty much everything, from automobiles to zoning regulations. When not writing, much of his time is occupied by looking for that elusive perfect house.