December 19, 2005

Fortune Magazine: Real estate - is it time to cash out?

Watch the action as retiring baby boomers rush to cash out while the getting is still good - especially those second homes... you can already see the action in the listing numbers from Boston, Sacramento and Phoenix

Jim and Diane Smith are homeowners on the edge. For the past several months they have been taking mental notes on every new housing statistic in the papers: existing-home sales, housing starts, inventories and so on.

They're not real estate pros -- Jim is an information technology executive with Marriott International -- but they have a ton of money at stake in the form of a lovely Alexandria, Va., brick colonial they purchased seven years ago for $410,000.

It's now worth just north of $1 million.

On the one hand, the Smiths can hardly believe their good luck. "In 2000, when the first house on the street went for $600,000, everyone [in the neighborhood] was high-fiving," says Jim. "By the time one went for $950,000 this summer, we all went, 'Holy cow! What happened?'"

But their euphoria is accompanied by a healthy dose of anxiety as they worry about how long the good times might last. The Smiths have decided to make the most of their opportunity and cash out: They've put their house on the market.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with just living in a house you love through the ups and downs of the market? As long as you can afford the mortgage payment, who cares what happens in the market around you? If the market is down eventually it will be back up, right?