Housing: Are the prices right?

Home prices will almost certainly fall further, said Brett Arends in The Wall Street Journal, and maybe much further. But yes, there’s a “contrarian” case for buying now—the key argument, interest rates. Being able to get a fixed-rate 30-year mortgage at below 5 percent is a big plus, especially if inflation becomes a factor down the line. On top of the cheap credit, if you’re aggressive enough, there are some “simply terrific deals” out there.

Don’t forget the $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time home buyers, said Andrea Coombes in MarketWatch. Still, “nobody buys a home solely on the basis of a tax credit.” Despite all the “on the one hand, on the other hand” arguments, buying a home is “a profoundly personal decision,” and you need to weigh your individual pros and cons before you step into “probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make.”

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JMS11/20/2012