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By now you've probably heard that Prudential Real Estate ranked "Highest in Overall Satisfaction for Home Sellers among National Full Service Real Estate Firms" in J.D. Power and Associates' 2008 Home Buyer/Seller Study. Of course, we are very proud of this distinction, as it underscores the quality of our affiliate companies and their hard-working sales professionals. We also realize the extensive marketing opportunities presented by this distinction. Accordingly, we've negotiated complete marketing rights for the study and for our favorable ranking. Prudential Real Estate has exciting plans to promote this distinction in a variety of venues and media. Likewise, each Prudential Real Estate affiliate will be able to display the J.D. Power and Associates trophy and award language on their advertisements, websites, business collateral and much more.

This Article was taken from MSN Real Estate.

Falling prices make homeownership increasingly realistic in some areas. Just don't expect to make a fast buck.

With house prices falling around the country, many renters are wondering if this is the time to jump in and score a deal.

You'd do best in McAllen and El Paso, Texas, where you could build roughly $90,437 in equity with a 6% loan, and just shy of that with a 7% loan. In Syracuse or Buffalo, N.Y., you'd stand to make close to $80,000. In these slow-growing, smaller cities, prices never got run up to the sky. Now, homes are still affordable. And most importantly, the prices aren't likely to come crashing down.

It’s a home, not a get-rich-quick scheme
Safe doesn't mean profitable, however. With prices falling in many markets, housing is too risky these days to expect you'll make money on a house deal, experts caution. The object now is to avoid losing money.

"Don't expect these markets to take off," says Danilo Pelletiere, research director for the National Low Income Housing Coalition and co-author of the study, "Ownership, Rental Costs and the Prospects of Building Home Equity."

"The housing boom passed them by because, in many cases, not much is happening in these towns."

Buyers should look at the purchase as a conservative investment that's unlikely to pay off like an oil-patch scheme and may even lose value, Pelletiere, says. Base the decision on more than profit, on intangibles like the chance to build stability, to join a community, to enjoy a neighborhood or love living in a particular home.

"I wouldn't want anybody to interpret this data as saying here's where you should put your money," Pelletiere says. "What I am saying is, if you want to put your money into a home, these are the cities where owning makes sense."

Table: 66 places where owning makes sense

How much equity you'd have by 2012 if you bought a low-priced home today…

Metro area

6% loan

7% loan

8% loan

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Texas




San Antonio




New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, La. 




Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas 




Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas 




Rochester, N.Y. 




Syracuse, N.Y. 




Buffalo-Niagara Falls, N.Y. 




Jackson, Miss.




Austin-Round Rock, Texas




Memphis, Tenn.-Mississippi-Arkansas *




Baton Rouge, La. 








Tulsa, Okla. 




Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Ark. 




Augusta, Ga.-Richmond County, S.C. 


$ 56,465


Lakeland, Fla.




Columbia, S.C




El Paso, Texas 




Akron, Ohio 




Greensboro-High Point, N.C. 




Oklahoma City 




Youngstown-Warren, Ohio-Boardman, Pa. 




Wichita, Kan. 




Dayton, Ohio 




Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich. 




Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind. 




Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. 




Omaha, Neb.-Council Bluffs, Iowa 




Birmingham-Hoover, Ala. 




Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. 




Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 




Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa 




Kansas City, Mo.-Kansas City, Kan. 




Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, Ohio 




Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich.




Toledo, Ohio 




Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla. 




Chattanooga, Tenn.-Georgia *




Cincinnati-Middletown, Ind.-Kentucky  *




Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, S.C. 




Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa. 




Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, Maine 




New Haven-Milford, Conn. 




Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Fla. 




Charleston-North Charleston, S.C. 




Louisville-Jefferson County, Ky.-Indiana *




St. Louis -Illinois *




Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, Fla. 




Charlotte-Gastonia, N.C.-Concord, S.C. 




Columbus, Ohio 




Albuquerque, N.M. 




Jacksonville, Fla. 




Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn. 




Knoxville, Tenn. 




Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, Fla. 




Richmond, Va. 




Raleigh-Cary, N.C. 




Springfield, Mass. 




Philadelphia-Camden, N.J.-Wilmington, Del. -Maryland *




Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, Conn. 




Allentown-Bethlehem, Pa.-Easton, N.J. 




Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis. 




Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, Va.-North Carolina  *




Orlando-Kissimmee, Fla. 




Colorado Springs, Colo. 




Source: Center for Economic and Policy Research and the National Low Income Housing Coalition
* Metropolitan area extends across state borders

The answer, of course, depends on where you live. In much of the U.S., you're better off buying despite falling home values, say new data compiled by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Of the 100 most populous metro areas, 57 have average three-bedroom rental costs higher than the cost of a 6% loan for a typical low-priced house, including Little Rock, Ark., and Akron, Ohio. (The study's authors defined low-priced as 75% of the area's median.) Those renting two-bedroom apartments would be better off buying a low-priced home at a loan rate of 6% in 24 of the 100 largest metro areas.

Of course, a crucial component for renters looking to make the leap is credit history. A prospective buyer with credit worthy of a 6% mortgage will pay a third less in monthly payments than someone who qualifies for an 8% loan – in many cities that can be a difference of hundreds of dollars and push them over the line to where renting actually makes more sense. (For more on the costs of renting versus buying, see "34 cities where it’s still better to rent.")

Even more interesting to potential homebuyers is the chance to build equity. Here, too, there's good news for many major metros. In 66 of the top 100 markets, you'd be in the black in four years should you buy a low-priced home today.

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Contact Information

Mark Brace, Realtor, ABR, GRI, CRS, SRES, e-PRO, A
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Michigan Real Estate
3000 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids MI 49525
Direct: (616) 447-7025
Cell: (616) 540-7705
Fax: (616) 447-7025

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Michigan Real Estate is a full service, locally operated real estate brokerage company backed by the strength of a solid national and global brand. Our full service businesses include Residential, Commercial, Relocation, Mortgage, Insurance, Home Services and New Homes & Land. Our core values, service philosophy, cutting edge technology, and most importantly our people are what make us the leading real estate company in Michigan. We are committed to providing the highest quality real estate services possible and making each customer's experience one that surpasses their expectations.