This is one of the most asked questions I hear from clients when determining the best time to buy a property in the Big Bear area. Trying to time the market, especially in today’s real estate market, seems to be an inherent characteristic of most buyers.
I recommend looking now to get a feel for the current market options that are available. Be particular for the right deal. Look for the options that might have some built-in equity already in the price (there are some of these out there). If you do not find the right property now, then I would keep eye out and wait another 6 months. The overall real estate forecast does not look great over that time frame. Most of the buyers I talk with now are continuing to wait to see what happens.
One thing to ask yourself is how long do you plan to own the property? If you plan on holding onto the property for 10 years or more, waiting 6-8 months might not matter that much in the grand scheme of things. You most likely won’t recall exactly how much you paid for it 10 years from now. Based on the past 30 years, the appreciation rate for properties in Big Bear has averaged approximately 4% per year. Conversely, if you only plan on holding onto the property for a few years, then waiting 6-12 months to see how things turn out might be the best option.
As with all real estate markets, you need to look at each one closely. All real estate values are local. What is happening in San Diego or Las Vegas really has no bearing on the values of the properties in Big Bear. While Lake Arrowhead, Crestline, Running Springs, and Big Bear may all be classified as “resort” communities, it would be a mistake to generalize that all the real estate markets in these areas are responding the same way to the current market conditions.
All that said, the first four months of the year are the slowest time for sales in the Big Bear Lake area. The inventory is typically at it lowest during these months as well (about 1050 residential right now as compared to 1500 during the summer months). This can be good time to buy as there is less competition form other buyers. Waiting until the summer/fall should provide buyers with more options to look at plus some better prices, but they will be competing with some other buyers looking for the same things.
Either way, I think there are some good deals to be had in the current real estate market in Big Bear. I would get a good feel now for what is out there and then make the decision as to wait or not to buy.