THE BLOG
11/09/2011 04:21 pm ET | Updated Jan 09, 2012

Why Trying to Time the Real Estate Market Recovery Will Never Work

Nobody wants to be made or act the fool. The stinging effect of ridicule is plentiful enough in life without having to go looking for it, especially when we have a semblance of control over a given situation. Certainly this is the case when deciding when the right time is to commit to a real estate purchase.

In a time when our economy suffers mightily, when unemployment figures and disdain for corporate greed compete for headlines, who in their right mind would stand on the tallest rooftop and scream to the world, "I'm buying a house today!" That would be perceived as downright crazy. That's why the "smart money" will wait, thinking they can predict the timing of the bottom of the market through clinical analysis of housing data.

No saps in this corner, thank you very much. The plan is sound in theory, but lacks one fundamental truth: anyone looking to predict the "perfect" time in the market must use specific housing data to define their jumping-off point. Statistics that assess year-over-year housing declines in both volume of sales and median pricing equivalents are numbers derived from empirical evidence. Meaning the information is three to six months old.

So, how can anyone know when the market is poised to recover when everyone is relying on data that is not given in real-time? Doesn't it make sense that we won't hear about the recovery of a market until it's already recovered? This is especially thought-provoking when you realize that anyone reporting on a given real estate market must wait for confirmed results before speaking to it.

Thus, the "perfect" moment may already be gone. Compounding the agony of those looking to outsmart the market, oftentimes (through empirical evidence) they will wait for confirmation after confirmation that the markets have recovered, thus allowing more time and opportunity to slip past before seizing the moment.

In truth, no one knows when any market finds a bottom until the moment has already passed because it is only in hindsight that you can compare a market to previous markets.

So, when is the "right" time to buy a home? Ultimately, it comes down to your needs and your ability to afford the property. If you are busting at the seams in your current housing situation or life deals you a hand that causes you to act, that is the best time to assess your finances in relation to your housing environment and make sound business choices that serve you best.

But to think you are going to "outsmart" the market, I'll venture a guess you'll never see it coming.