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Is now a smart time to buy in NYC's market, or should I wait until prices possibly go down?

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Question:

I'm interested in buying, but the market seems volatile (or on a possible downswing) right now. On the flip side, I'd like to get in while mortgage rates are still low, if they're likely to go up soon. Is now a smart time for me to get into the market, or should I hold off?

Answer:

If now is otherwise a good time for you to buy in terms of lifestyle and finances, say our experts, then don't too get caught up in trying to read the tea leaves of the market. 

And while it's true that prices could eventually go lower than they currently are, it's risky to wait it out, and still savvy to get into the market as it currently stands. "If the market is in a downswing that's a little bit prolonged such as the one we're having now, almost any time you buy is a good bet," says Corcoran's Deanna Kory. "Waiting for it to turn around could be dangerous, as nobody can 'time' the market properly and consistently." 

And with interest rates still near historic lows, says Kory, between that and recent price drops, "I think it's a 'no-brainer.'"

There's no 100 percent guarantee that rates will remain where they are, but you shouldn't necessarily let that hinder you. "From everything I've read, I don't see rates going up [soon], but none of us have a crystal ball," adds Robbie Gendels of National Cooperative Bank—a Brick sponsor. "Having said that, rates are still low, so it's a great time to purchase."

However, it can't hurt to be at least a little bit strategic about your timing, and Kory tells us, "Normally in a typical annual cycle in Manhattan, the second quarter is strong followed by a weaker third quarter. I often advise people to buy in the third quarter." The only potential problem is that that falls during the summer, when fewer listings are on the market, as sellers assume buyers will be out of town for weekend open houses.

Ultimately, says Kory, the timing that matters most is buying when you're ready to buy, rather than when the market seems just right.

"Unbeknownst to me, I bought my first property right before black Monday in 1987, and a second property right before 9/11. I never once regretted it," she tells us. "It's always good advice to buy—even now—in the best location you can afford, and to buy the largest property that you need and can comfortably afford. And buy when it is the right time for you in your life."


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