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A friend recently told me that she’s hesitant to buy a house now, even at 29. Her reasoning? She’s unmarried and sure that when she does marry no man would want to move into a home that was “hers” and not “his” or “theirs”. As a guy, I actually understand her point somewhat. As a thinking person, however, I’d beg her to reconsider.

In the first place, no one can predict the future: what if the knight in shining armor never mounts the horse to come looking for her? Beyond that, now is simply the time to buy. For some time we’ve heard that. Historically low interest rates have been partially responsible. Linked with that, the bursting of the housing bubble a few years ago brought new construction to a standstill and many homeowners face to face with foreclosure. Ultimately, the supply of extremely cheap housing has been more than abundant for some time, especially in already distressed urban neighborhoods. Ironically, that same friend and I have kicked around the idea of buying houses in Detroit simply because there have been so many available for less than $1,000 for several years.

But things are quickly changing. For the first time since 2006, year over year home prices have risen for seven consecutive months. The median price of a home in the U.S rose 11.3% in September, the biggest year over year gain since November 2005. According to Blackstone Group LP, the largest buyer of foreclosed homes in the country, the historic opportunity to get in on cheap home prices- particularly foreclosures- will only exist for another two years or so. After that, I’m afraid that my friend may face a much tougher challenge in pursuing the lifelong dream of owning a home. Yet there is still another narrative I find more alarming and urgent when I consider the matter.

For the first time since anyone can remember, Washington D.C. is not a majority black city. 2010 Census figures put the black population of the district at 50%. From the 2000 Census, the black population declined by well over 11%. That’s in no way insignificant. This narrative, however, is not exclusive to Washington. As cities all over the country continue to gentrify and blacks find themselves on the outside looking in, the reliable constant in American urban life- blacks- may very well be a distant memory. During this final hour when there is still opportunity for young black folks- not just ladies- to solidify their presence and stake in the cities that weaned us, by all means we should.

1 comment

Rebel Cain

Houses are hard to get rid of if you move in and decide the neighborhood or some other aspect of the situation isn't to your liking. Even at the lowest rates, you still pay a killing on the interest over 30 years. To each his own, just be sure to do your research on the neighborhood, schools, etc. Remember also that if you decide to go to grad school in a different city, you're still on the hook for that mortgage, which means finding renters and all the irritations that come with that. A house is really a good investment if you can pay it off (or a significant amount) up front. Then it becomes an asset, not a burden. I'm saving my money and renting on the low end until I absolutely need a house.

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