1. First, the cost of owning a home is at an all-time low. Freddie Mac reported 30-year mortgage interest rates fell to new lows this week, averaging 4.56 percent in the North Central Region, which includes Illinois. Combine these rates with more affordably priced homes and you have an opportunity not seen in a very long time. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders reported its nationwide housing affordability index during the first quarter of 2011 rose to its highest level in the more than 20 years. With investors and cash buyers in the market, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, it’s another clear sign now is a good time to buy.

2. In Steve Harney’s recent blogpost on the rent vs. buy debate, three independent sources including JP Morgan say with demand for rentals and rental rates increasing, the current environment favors buying a home. If you have the financial wherewithall and are looking to put down some roots in a community for a period of time, it would be wise to put pen to paper with your budget to seriously consider homeownership.

3. This weekend June 4-5 is the Nationwide Open House when REALTORS® around the state and nation will be hosting open houses for their listings, so you will be able to see a lot of housing options on Saturday and Sunday. Check your local newspapers and REALTOR.com for open houses in the neighborhoods you’re interested in.

REALTOR® Nationwide Open House Weekend, June 4-5, 2011