Do You Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda?

Woulda Coulda ShouldaIt is the mantra of people who missed a great deal. It’s the theme song of the procrastinator. It’s the refrain that reminds us of the one that got away.

Some people are still beating themselves up because they didn’t recognize the housing bubble was really going to burst– or because they “coulda” bought a home in La Jolla 40 years ago for  $42,000. It is impossible to change the past but can we see the signs of the next housing trend?

In the past four years, prices have adjusted with 30% corrections nationally and much more in areas with high percentages of foreclosures. New homes are almost non-existent. Interest rates are slightly above record lows. Consumer goods are skyrocketing; our budget deficit and national debt are staggering and escalating inflation appears certain.

They Were WrongIn the three years following this 1996 headline, California home prices rose 19.7%, wiping out the losses of the early 90’s and ending the next decade with a net gain of 9.35%.

While the media is helpless to resist playing up bad economic news, the simple truth is that a home remains the most enduring investment most of us will ever make. That’s because the return goes beyond simple appreciation. To own a home is to make a priceless investment in our lives – and a confident affirmation about our future.

“Forget stocks. Don’t bet on gold. After four years of plunging home prices, the most attractive asset class in America is housing.” states Shawn Tully, Senior Editor at-Large for Fortune magazine in a March 28, 2011 article.

“If I would have known that this was the best buyer’s market ever, I could have taken advantage of the prices and interest rates; I should have fixed my cost of housing for years to come.” Don’t catch yourself saying this. Isn’t it possible that we’ll look back on this time in the real estate cycle and feel embarrassed for not taking advantage of the incredible values available? By the time the market has turned, the best bargains will be described with a “shoulda”.

Leave a Comment