The housing market is no great shakes anywhere at the moment, and those who have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for prices to moderate in retirement friendly places like Florida and the rest of the southeast may feel their time is coming...unless they live, say, in the northeast.
We are quite familar with a number of golfing communities in the southeast, and annual price appreciations in some locations in the Carolinas and Georgia, for example, remain in the mid-to-high single digits. Those near-retirees in the northeast who see a future life in the south may want to consider fast-forwarding their plans. According to the New England Economic Partnership, a forecast organization, housing prices are essentially going nowhere fast in the northeast over the next four to five years.
Prices in Massachusetts, which had fallen for six straight months as of the end of November, will continue to fall into 2008 before leveling off into the end of the decade, according to the NEEP. No other state in New England is expected so see home appreciations of more than 2.7% annually between now and 2010. If you consider that your house provides a roof over your head, then a 1% or 2% annual appreciation is not so bad. But consider that prices in retirement magnets like Charleston, SC, and Albuquerque, NM, appreciated 4% and 5% respectively in just the 2nd quarter of 2006, buoyed not only by boomers moving south but also by some Floridians who were tired of traffic and longing for a short but palpable winter.
In short, every year a northerner defers selling her home and buying one in the south means an erosion of buying power and eventually settling for less house. Stated another way, today the waterfront view, next year the golf course, the year after that the woods.