Lower prices offset higher interest rates

I’m in a Las Vegas state of mind.

Like Billy Joel and I used to say when we lived in New York, we were in a New York state of mind.

Thirty-two years later, I am in a Las Vegas state of mind and I don’t mind sharing my real estate and mortgage banking knowledge with my fellow neighbors.

It is something we do on a biweekly basis with something we call Train N Tour. Over eight years ago, Southern Nevada Home Builders Association (SNHBA) and I came up with an idea. An idea to help our local real estate community better understand both new home sales and the ins and outs of the mortgage business. Our incredible Realtor base, the ambassadors of our great city, are the voice of our local real estate industry, for our existing and new homes.

At a recent Las Vegas Realtor event we hosted a builder panel, which addressed more than 250 Realtors. They talked about how the builders and Realtors can work together to sell new homes in the Las Vegas Valley. More panel discussions are scheduled throughout the summer.

During several public talks I have stated that interest rates do not matter. That’s right, I said loud and proud: Rates do not matter.

I love my city and it’s been great to me and my family for over 30 years. I cannot stand by and watch folks stand on the sidelines because of fears of slightly higher rates. The truth of the matter right now is that this is a tremendous buying opportunity. Here’s why, and these are facts and figures:

One year ago, rates were about 5 percent and the medium sales price was $482,000. Principal and interest payment totaled $2,871.

Today, rates are about 6.25 percent and the medium price is $424,995. Principal and interest payment is $2,825.

That’s a difference of $46, people.

“Are you picking up what I’m putting down,” as my dear late friend, attorney and TV personality Bob Massi would say.

A $46 difference. Less than two cups of coffee at Starbucks! An exaggeration, yes, but you get my point.

Las Vegans’ state of mind has to change. Now, is a tremendous time to buy. What goes up must come down. Rates have gone up, and they will come down.

Home prices have gone down, and they will go back up. As Warren Buffet would say: Buy low and sell high. Our local average rents are close to the $2,000 range. Why pay the landlord’s mortgage when you can pay your own and realize the future appreciation gains and don’t forget the tax relief we all get from paying mortgage interest.

The Feds and all the financial experts are all predicting rates to start their decline later this year or next. Don’t hesitate and don’t let our great city suffer another falsehood that our market is in decline.

Remember this: The opportunity of a lifetime only lasts the lifetime of the opportunity.

Michael Sweeney is a longtime Las Vegas specialist. He currently is an American Pacific Mortgage Corp. sales manager. He also holds the Train N Tour events.

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