Is now the time to buy a house?

Is now the time to buy a house?

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Becky Best is hunting for a bigger home to fit her larger family and says a 4 percent interest rate is hard to pass up.

"We're excited the interest rates are so low and we'll be able to find something," she said.

With low interest rates leading the way, sales for existing homes are on the rise.

Sales numbers are up about 3.5 percent for April.  

Realtors say it may be an indication that the weak housing market is starting to wake up - and for those buyers who can come up with the down payment, now is the time to buy.  

"With historically low rates, prices being down, not only are we seeing the first-time homebuyers, we're seeing a lot of investors stepping in to the arena now," real estate broker Ben Mondragon told KVAL News.

Comparing this April to last, Lane County sales are about even, but year to date, they're up nearly 9 percent.

However, more than one-third of the Lane County sales were on foreclosed homes and short sales.

Have we hit bottom on home prices yet? "As much as I hate to say so," Mondragon said, "I don't think so."

Not the best news for home sellers, but great news for house hunters - although there are factors working against buyers like Best. Her real estate agent, Deena Cummings, said there are fewer homes for sale.  

"So for people like Becky, there's less to choose from. It may mean a longer search for a house," said Cummings.


Still, home sales nationwide are well below the nearly 6 million per year economists say is a healthy level.  

"Real estate is still a jobs oriented thing," Mondragan said, "and until we get more jobs into our area and people start feeling confident."

He said not to expect to see a return of 2006-07 type of home sales and prices in Lane County for at least another 8 to 10 years.