For those that are looking to take the plunge and get into the property market or buy their first investment, a common question to ask when is the best time to buy property?
Generally, people asking this kind of question fall into two kinds of categories. The first is those that realise that it’s important to be in the market, and the second are those that are trying to time the market as their main strategy.
I started buying property in my early twenties and at the time I would talk to my friends and colleagues about what I was doing – I was excited and wanted to share that excitement with them too. So often, I would hear them say, “I’m waiting for the property market to go down” but it didn’t. Home values just kept going up and up. That first property was a scary step for me but was the most important one I made – today that property is worth three times what it cost me to get in. Fast forward 14 years since that time, many of those friends who were waiting for the market to go down, still don’t own property. Those individuals that are obsessed with grabbing a bargain by only buying at the bottom of the property cycle, invariably miss out. By the time they realise that the bottom of the market has arrived, it’s been and gone and so have some bargains along the way.
Timing the market to a certain extent is somewhat important but being in the market and staying in the market for the medium to long term has shown time and time again to be the key strategy. It’s for this reason, if someone asks me when I think is the best time to buy property, my answer is always the same. Twenty years ago and failing that, as soon as you can afford it. If you think back to the nineties, there were some serious economic issues that bit, a recession, high interest rates, high unemployment. But everyone will recognise, it would make almost no difference if you bought just before a downturn, the bottom of a cycle or the top of a cycle during that period. Your position today if you’d held a quality property through that time would be almost identical.
I wasn’t in a position to buy property in the nineties but I’m pleased that I bought property when I could. It’s a strategy that I’m committed to and will continue to buy more property as I can afford to. In 5 years time I’ve got no doubt that I will still have friends who are not sure that now is a good time, look back quietly and think about the missed opportunities. Be brave, you know it’s important to be in the market, don’t sit on your hands and be one of the unlucky ones.
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