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Flip or Hold: Best Real Estate Moves for 2015

85Wild fluctuations in the nation’s real estate cycle have taken investors on a roller coaster ride since the early part of this century. From the first decade, marked by overheated home prices in many of the nation’s most popular metropolitan areas, to the post-Great Recession era sending home values into a free fall, investors have had to adjust and adapt their investment strategies to market conditions.

So, going forward, which are the best strategies to pursue for real estate investors next year?

The big picture for 2015. Looking at the nation’s housing and economic indicators, there is plenty of positive news to justify continued investor optimism in 2015. Home sales – both existing and new – are projected to increase next year, which is welcome news for fix-and-flip investors.

At the 2014 Realtors Conference & Expo, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, or NAR, predicted a rebound for existing home sales for the next two years, and he projects the national median existing-home price will rise at a moderate 4 percent in each of those years. On the new home front, David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders, forecasted in an Oct. 31, 2014 National Association of Home Builders webinar that multi-family housing starts were projected to increase 15 percent in the rest of 2014 and hold steady in 2015.

“Multi-family housing starts have rebounded back to normal since the downturn, mostly due to the strong demand for renting,” says NAR’s Yun, who also notes that renter households have increased by 4 million since 2010, while homeowner households have decreased by 1 million.

Two major concerns remain: tight lending standards, which continue to keep people who could otherwise afford to buy a home from qualifying for a loan to finance the purchase, and interest rates, which are expected to hit at least 5 percent by year-end.

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