From selling to buying...balancing need/want and resale
We are officially on the home stretch to selling our house. We went under contract in July, and just finished the re-inspection of the items we agreed to fix, so contingencies are all officially satisfied and we're just waiting for closing in 2 more months (buyers aren't relocating until then).
Soooo, now we're turning to buying in our new place and I'm not sure whether to buy big or buy medium. Under normal circumstances, we'd probably buy something in the $200-250K range, which would get us a newer 2000-3000 sf place. But we're moving to a small town (population 16,000), while there are houses from $10K to $500K, because it's a place of modest median income, median home price is ~$100K, and demand for houses drops off significantly above $150K.
YTD solds/actives run like this:
And some of the higher end stuff sold at significant deductions from list price.
I've been watching the market for a couple years, and while there's significantly more movement this year than there was last year (in 2012 only one house >$200K sold), the stats scare me a bit, in that a $200K house is in the top 10% price-wise, and I worry about our ability to unload a $200-250K house down the road with such a small market.
The problem is that if we stay in the $100-150 "safe" range, the houses are either newish but small (1500 sf) or bigger but old/dated. Neither one would be a house I'd love, but it would be the more practical choice.
So what would you do? Stay conservative and buy a decent house we don't love? Or buy something we love realizing it may be tough to sell later?
In the meantime, we have our not-yet-finished 940 sf, 2-bedroom crash pad that we bought last spring, so we won't go homeless, and aren't thus in a "must buy" rush. But I want to make the wise decision for both sanity and pocketbook.