Housing Market Kaput?
"Steeply deteriorating." "Hard landing." "Kaput." These are some of the terms used by analysts to describe the slowing of the U.S. housing market. And with the glory days of home-price appreciation now over, some homeowners are declaring, "Downsize Me!"
Americans are carrying a lot of excess weight and desperately want to slim down. No, not their waistlines -- in the size of their homes.
A huge gap between the supply of homes for sale and demand for housing means prices are leveling off -- and could tumble. David Horwitz and his wife, Diane, are the type of homeowners looking to streamline their expenses and unload their roomy homes for more humbler abodes.
The Horwitzes, both semi-retired, just moved into a 1,200 square-foot apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan after living in a 2,200 square-foot home in Scarsdale, New York.
"Our property taxes went down by 1,000 percent, the ConEd (bill) was cut by two-thirds and the cost of home maintenance was reduced by at least 50 percent," said David Horwitz. "No gardener, no roofer cleaning gutters, no tree spraying, no snow removal, no exterior painting every six or seven years."
Diane Ramirez, president of Halstead Property, has seen downsizing pick up steam in recent months, especially among suburbanites in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
"Homeowners are probably sensing now may be the right time to get the best price before the market cools further," Ramirez said. "Some of these homebuyers are empty-nesters now finding their homes are larger than what they need and more than they can handle."
The Horwitzes, who have no mortgage, plan to reside in the apartment for a while, so even if prices fall it is of little significance to them.