Focus on Real Estate


Owning a home still hallmark of the American Dream


By Chris Fraser and John Sinrud

On the minds of many Americans is how can they achieve the dream of home ownership.  Surely every home seller and home buyer has heard the national news about the real estate market, but remember that all real estate is local.
Although there are areas of the country that have been hit hard, there are some that are doing very well. According to statistics from the Northwest Montana Association of Realtors, Northwest Montana real estate sales are on the rise, up 28.6 percent compared to the same time last year in 2009. Buyers are taking advantage of low interest rates; lower prices and better negotiating power that helps them achieve their American Dream.
Home ownership can mean a lot of different things to everyone. Mostly, it is the largest single investment that Americans make during their life. Excellent tax advantages also come with home ownership, including the deduction for mortgage interest, and no capital gains taxes (to those who qualify in our current tax structure) when you sell.
For example, when selling your primary residence, single filers are eligible to receive up to $250,000 in capital gains appreciation before paying any capital gains taxes; and joint filers can receive up to $500,000.
Another thing to keep in mind is that paying your mortgage on time acts as a savings account you are investing in your home and paying down your mortgage. No other investment offers these kinds of tax incentives and financial rewards. For some, owning property has been their single best avenue to creating and building wealth.
Historically, real estate has held a longtime average of 4 to 5 percent annual appreciation rate per year, even with the high appreciation rates in the mid 2000s, and appreciation rates retreating over the past few years. The key to investing in real estate, as with any other investment vehicle, is to buy at the right time. With a number of bank-owned properties and the large amount of housing supply, there are some great buys currently in the real estate market. 
In these times of crazy news cycles, big elections and the economy, many prospective home buyers may have many concerns on their mind. Now let’s cut through the noise. Everyone needs a place to live and we all want the best for ourselves and our families.  Here are three critical points to keep in mind: Can I afford this home? Is it a good investment? Does it meet my family’s needs?
The core value of the American Dream is about staking your claim and achieving what you want. Recent studies have shown that most Americans still want to own a home.  The majority still consider home ownership very important to a strong economy, and they would rather own than rent. Knowing that you can have a place to call your own and have freedom of working hard toward something better for you and your family is still very much alive. Home ownership is the foundation to the American Dream!
Currently there is a large supply of real estate on the market, which means sellers are motivated to sell, making it a buyer’s market.
Sellers need to compete in order for their properties to sell in a reasonable time. With financial institutions ready to lend, interest rates at their lowest levels in almost 40 years and excellent real estate prices, now is the time for you to make offers and negotiate with sellers to achieve home ownership.

Chris Fraser is the chairperson of government affairs for the Northwest Montana Association of Realtors; John Sinrud is NMAR’s government affairs director.


Last Updated
Feb 24, 2020
Hagadone Montana Publishing
727 E Idaho  - Kalispell , MT 59901