Bargain-Seeking Home Buyers on the Hunt

Daily Real Estate News  | April 1, 2011  |

Bargain-Seeking Home Buyers on the Hunt
Housing prices across the country are at multi-year lows and mixed with low interest rates bargain hunters are targeting real estate.

More investors are heading to the market looking to make cash buys for real estate, investing in second or even a third home, Reuters News reports.

“We’re starting to get a lot more inquiries and assisting in transactions,” says Rocco Papandrea, a senior vice president and wealth management adviser at Merill Lynch in New York. Papandrea says he’s seeing more interest in properties along the West Coast and in Colorado, as well as Florida.

Canadian buyers in particular are expected to be looking to purchase U.S. homes. The Bank of Montreal estimates that one-in-five Canadians is considering buying U.S. property.

With dropping home prices, more cities are looking to be attractive buys, such as the increasing affordability in popular vacation-home designations along the U.S. Sunbelt. For example, home prices have fallen 44 percent in Tampa, 54 percent in Phoenix, 57 percent in Las Vegas, and 49 percent in Miami, the Bank of Montreal reports.

“If the economy keeps clicking along and jobs keep growing, housing will be fine,” says Dean Frankel, a portfolio manager at Urdang Capital Markets in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, who oversees around $1.7 billion in real estate equity investments.

The economy–and ultimately housing–may then get a boost from the latest unemployment report released Friday. The unemployment rate reached a two-year low of 8.8 percent in March as companies began a brisk wave of hiring, adding employees at the fastest two-month pace since before the recession even started, the Labor Department reports.

The unemployment rate has fallen a full percentage point in the last four months, which marks the sharpest drop since 1983.

“U.S. Housing Market Attracting Bargain-Hunters,” Reuters News (March 31, 2011) and “Unemployment Rate Falls to 2-Year Low of 8.8 Pct.; Employers Add 216k Jobs in March,” The Associated Press (April 1, 2011)