2010 in the Rearview Mirror
Mortgage interest rates dropped to historic lows, home affordability was high, and a wide variety of homes were available for purchase.
Many consumers took advantage of this historic "perfect storm" of home-buying conditions, and 4.8 million homes were sold in the U.S. in 2010.
The good news is that, for those who were unable or unsure about entering the market in the past year, these conditions should extend into 2011.
First-time buyers were a driving force in 2010, taking advantage of the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit. According to the Illinois Association of REALTORS (IAR) 2010 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 53 percent of Illinois homebuyers last year were first-time buyers, up from 51 percent the year before.
Of the buyers who responded to IAR's survey, 34 percent said it was "just the right time" to buy a home, while 27 percent cited affordability.
The average Illinois home seller owned the home for eight years, and said the primary reason for selling the previous home was a change in family situation (23 percent) or the size of the home was too small (21 percent).
Also, last year as Americans tried to get their bearings following a harsh recession, the media brought the institution of homeownership itself into question.
However, I think cooler heads utimately prevailed, and the home rightfully retained its reputation as a good way to build long-term wealth. It was also good to see homeownership receive some credit for all the "intangibles" it provides, like a sense of stability and security for one's family.
Most Americans still aspire to the dream of homeownership. The good news is that many will get that chance in 2011!