Price change from peak: -8.34%
Accountant Rochelle Anthony is accustomed to working with numbers. But when she bought her home, she couldn't believe the numbers were right. She paid less than it originally sold for in 1980.
Anthony was living in Norcross, Ga., with her high-school age daughter, and longed to move to nearby Duluth. She worked for several years improve her credit score and eliminate as many bills as possible. When her car and credit card payments were gone, she began watching the housing market. But she didn't know how to determine the right time to jump.
"I was skeptical at first because the housing prices were continuing to fall," Anthony said. "Would I get a better deal if I waited?"
After a stressful the-month search, Anthony found what she called "the deal of a lifetime."
The split-level home has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a two-car garage built on a little more than half an acre. The house had been foreclosed on and was appraised at $134,000. When Anthony closed on Nov. 19, 2008, she paid $97,000 - about $20,000 less than the original 1980 list price. It was also 40% less than other homes in the neighborhood; from the beginning of 2008 to the end of the third quarter, Duluth home prices have sunk 5.95% according to Zillow.com.
Mortgage payments comprise 21% of Anthony's income, but diligent saving helped her amass one year's payments before her work week was cut. As a result, she isn't worried about affording her new home even though she was forced to drop to a four-day, 32-hour work week in 2009.
"There are some great deals available," she said. "Right now, you can get more home for your money." - J.P.
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