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I heard from several of you last night and this morning in response to my question from this post yesterday:

Pretend I’m your great-aunt from Omaha who’s thinking about investing in a condo in a sunny spot for her retirement. She’s heard real estate’s a good bet in San Diego. What do you tell her about the year we’ve had?

I want to share a couple of your responses.

This one made me laugh out loud while I drank my coffee this morning. Reader CM wrote to his grandma, contrasting his life as a renter — with only a slight annual rent increase — to his former life as a homeowner with mortgage payment increases and maintenance costs.

Dear Grandma,

It’s been a good year to be a renter in San Diego. The “American Dream” of owning another home has started to lose a bit of its glow for us. We’re thankful that our rent “reset” was less than 1% and that our nice landlord brings us a present at Christmas. Our mortgage servicing company (which one is it this month?) sure never did. The money we’ve saved by not dashing to Home Depot each weekend is being put to good use as a ski vacation at Mammoth. All in all, we’re very glad we’re on the home-ownership sidelines and we don’t think that will change before our 2009 Christmas letter.   

Lots of love to you and Grandpops!

p.s. Send fruitcake!

Reader J offered some price predictions, referring to the “sticky” characteristic of prices in a down market, while some sellers hang on to thoughts of yesterday’s (or yesteryear’s) prices:

I tell her that prices came down this year, but I think they will come down more in 2008. If she can wait, she is likely to get a better place for the same price in the fall of 2008 or 1st quarter of 2009. There is a lot of pressure on prices but they have been sticky going down. Depending on where she buys prices may be down another 10% to 20% a year from now.

Reader CF shared a personal perspective about trying to sell a house this year. It’s been on the market for eight months. It’s got a view of and access to Lake Murray, she said.

In the beginning there was lots of interest but only one offer. We have gotten another offer that is $50,000 under the bottom of the price range. … Buyers point out everything that is wrong with the house and mention that it is priced too high. We have lowered the price $100,000 in the 8 months it’s been on the market. We have taken the house off the market and are now looking at renting it and waiting for market improvement.

CF said she and her husband, who’s nearing retirement, have another, smaller house that they’ll renovate and move back into while they rent out their other house and wait for the market to change:

It doesn’t make sense to us to continue to follow the market price fall if we can rent for some positive income…. all the while waiting for market improvement.

I’d love to hear from more of you — as always, click my name below to send me an e-mail.

KELLY BENNETT

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