The Local Housing Market:  Is it good or is it bad?

REALTOR® Outlook

By Kay Wilson-Bolton

September 12, 2006

Very few people have said that buying a home was a good short-term investment. In fact, it has been proven for decades that it is the best long-term investment.

That has been demonstrated by those who participated in “equity flight” in the last few years and took their huge equities to states where mansions could be purchased for comparatively small amounts of dollars.

Newspaper articles can be confusing if the writer does not have a regional perspective on the housing market and can temper it with an understanding the local market.

It’s important to read the whole article and not swallow the headline as absolute.

There are two factors to keep in mind when evaluating news reports on current market conditions. One is that you need to evaluate what’s happening now in relationship to what came before. We’ve recently experienced several of the best years for home sales on record.

If the market were to continue to escalate, we’d have a serious problem.

Even with the current adjustment, we still have affordability issues. If home prices were to continue to rise unchecked, first-time buyers would eventually be shut out of the market. With no entry-level buyers, the move-up market would grind to a halt. Rather than a curse, the slow-down in the housing market is a blessing and we have to agree to view it as such.

The other factor to keep in mind when you’re trying to make sense of changes in home prices is that, in most cases, the changes quoted in the press are changes in the median price of homes sold during a given period of time. The median is the market price for a given time period where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less.

Changes in median price from one period to the next do not necessarily reflect changes in absolute home values. When the median price rises, it means that the number of more expensive homes sold during that period increased. Likewise, when the median price of homes sold declines, this means that the volume of lower priced homes sold increased relative to the number of more expensive properties.

Home ownership is the best way to plan for retirement. Delaying a purchase and continuing to rent helps the landlord pay off his or her mortgage and keeps the new buyer from enjoying the tax deduction for mortgage interest. Yes, the new buyer might have to curtail some entertainment activities and forego that vacation, but little beats home ownership.

Before drawing conclusions about the strength of the home sale market in your area, you need to collect data at your local level. Regional, statewide and national statistics can be misleading. A REALTOR® can help you and that’s what we do.


Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner of CENTURY 21 Buena Vista and brings a regional perspective to local issues. She can be reached at 805.340.5025 or at



About Kay Wilson-Boltonhttp://www.kaywilsonbolton.netWith a full-time career in real estate, I can add to your bank of knowledge, not only in real estate but in many areas of life that deal with people and relationships and choices. My real estate career has taught me many lessons about planning ahead and looking forward. I believe in helping along the way so that they can be the best they can be in any situation. I serve as a Fire Department Chaplain and Coordinator for the Many Meals Project which serves homeless and hungry families in my community. The event is far more than many meals. As a result of my work with the homeless population in my community, I received the Good Neighbor Award 2017 from the National Association of Realtors and named as a Champion of Homes in 2015 by the California Association of Realtors. I make pastoral visits to the inmates in the County Jail System and offer them what God says about "all things being new" and His remarkable plan for our lives. I have served my community as Mayor and in many volunteer capacities. I serve others by serving God first. My husband is involved in prison ministry and is a graphic artist. We live a simple life in Santa Paula with an office cat named Scout, three rescued poodles and a cat named Tony Diane at home.

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