Boston real estate: Is it worth the investment?

Foreclosures in Massachusetts have reached their lowest point of 2012, which bodes well for current residents and future homebuyers. According to the Warren Group, the publisher of Banker and Tradesman, petitions to foreclose were down 17 percent year-over-year in July 2012.

Editor Tim Warren states that lenders are willing to accept short sales, and he also sees new government programs as influential components in the stabilization of the Bay State real estate market. Recently, the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation and the National Consumer Law Center launched a 2-year effort to assist homeowners who are about to be foreclosed on or who have already been evicted. The goal of the government program is to minimize the rate of foreclosures in the Bay State.

While a decline in foreclosures across Massachusetts may improve the value of the homes for sale in Boston, an increase in homebuilder confidence might have a comparable effect. According to the National Association of Home Builders in association with Wells Fargo, the builder sentiment index increased to 40 points in September 2012, up from 37 points in August 2012. The latest reading marks the highest recorded rate since June 2006, not long before the housing market burst. Traditionally, any reading below 50 indicates negative sentiment about the real estate market, but the index hasn't achieved that level since April 2006, and any uptick is generally regarded as a positive sign today. Further, according to the index, builders' outlook for sales across the next six months rose to 51 points - up from the forecast 43 points in August 2012. This reading is also the highest measured
level since June 2006.

What does this mean for prospective buyers of real estate in Boston?
A decline in foreclosures and an increase in builder confidence can greatly influence the future of the Boston housing market. As fewer homeowners are forced into foreclosure and fewer properties are required to be sold at a loss, the more likely home values in struggling neighborhoods will improve. Buyers who invest in property today, especially through short sales, might find their newly acquired homes worth much more by the end of 2012. Factor in additional programs headed by the state government, and an investment in Boston property looks even wiser to the average American.

If a buyer is considering a home in Boston, it's time for him or her to trust in the future of the United States and make an investment in real estate.