For the past 5 years I've been scrimping and saving and doing everything I can to finally become a homeowner. I've got a fair amount saved for a down payment, and can borrow enough to buy a "starter home" most places. I grew up an inlander in NJ and moved to the coast (no need for specifics) after school. I've been renting and loving it (2 miles to my break) for 6 years now, but I'm ready to buy. And the housing market suggests that I should.
I've tried asking friends, family, co-workers, etc. for advice...but they just don't get it. ITS ALL ABOUT THE WAVES. I need to be close to the beach. That's the whole reason I moved down here in the first place. The options are: The Barrier Island and The first town over the bridge.
Each has its own pros and cons.
Pros of island living: Really close to the beach. Really close to work. Bike everywhere. It's cool. It's elite. Less crime. Low taxes. Quiet winters. Chicks. WAVES
Cons: Obnoxious in the summer time. Not much bang for my buck in housing. My budget allows only a modest home or condo. No land. Elderly community. My brother lives here. Almost none of my friends live here. I work here. Boring as hell in the winter if theres no waves.
Pros of living just offshore: Much cheaper housing, more land, I can truly AFFORD it. I'd actually have a workspace/garage/yard/driveway. Safer (floods,'canes). Public transportation. Cheaper groceries-seriously. More year-round locals who aren't 150 years old.
Cons: Higher Taxes. Adds a few miles to my commute (to work and surf). Less biking. Not Cool/elite. Feels like I'd be settling for second best. Can still get rowdy in summer months. Impossible to get to Islandtown in timely fashion in summer months. Property unlikely to return on investment like island property.
What do you guys think, as surfers...as economists...as familymen. I'm single so right now all I care about is proximity to waves and OPP! What would you do if you had 250k for a house?
I live on the mainland side across from Assateague island in Maryland. Living here there is no option of island living since Assateague is all state and fed owned. It is the perfect place for me with a nice little house on a big lot with bay views on both sides. From what I see go on in Ocean City in the summer I think I would opt for the dry side of the bay. It gets crazy in there with no hope of easy movement on a Saturday in the summer, I think I would go nuts. You sound younger than me so the idea of girls wandering around all summer in bikinis is a pretty good deal if I was a young single guy. As far as an investment I don't think you could go wrong with either.
Other factors to consider are maintenance/upkeep and flood insurance premiums depending in what flood zone your new place would reside. Upkeep in a harsh ocean environment is not trivial. It's especially important to factor into the equation if you will be stretching your budget to afford a place near the ocean.
I agree that cycle-wise, this is one of the best times to buy a house--ever. Just make sure you've got enough of an emergency fund to tide you through any unexpected emergencies (job loss, shark bites, hvac system dies, etc.) that could crop up. One rule of thumb is to have approx 8 months worth of living expenses stashed away. The last thing you'd want to have happen is to get foreclosed on, killing your chances of buying another place later, should you get married, etc.
Last edited by Mid-Life Crisis; Jul 9, 2012 at 10:18 PM.
All sounds like good advice. Thanks guys. I think i might be leaning towards moving offshore...just afraid I would be surfing less. I drive to my break as it is now anyway, so I really don't see what would impede me further. I've still got alot to think about.
I'm no Warren Buffet, but the trend on interest rates (mortgage) is certainly in your favor at the moment. You might see 2.5% on a 15 year note fairly soon. Not there just yet. Worth waiting a bit for that. The savings on interest over 5, 10, 15 years is incredible if you can drive that rate as low as you can get it. Also, just guessing here, wouldn't it be a better time to purchase during late autumn / winter for the geographic locations that you're considering owning a home in? It's definitely an amazing time to be a buyer, as several guys have noted.