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Everyone is familiar with the dark cloud side of the recession. But there is a silver lining. Forbes.com lists some big-ticket items that are actually a bargain during the current recession – assuming, of course, that you have money to spend:
The housing market collapse that led the nation into recession has resulted in some very good home bargains. Prices overall are down significantly over the last two years – about 25 percent nationwide and much more than that in some areas. Add to that the large number of home foreclosures, and you can get a lot of house for relatively little money.
In addition, mortgage rates are very low – in the neighborhood of 5 percent for a 30-year fixed-rate loan. And as part of the stimulus package, first-time homebuyers get a tax credit of $8,000.
Everyone knows that new-car sales are way, way down. As a result, auto dealers are willing to do just about anything to move cars off the lot. If you have good credit, you can negotiate not only a lower price, but also extremely good financing – 0 percent in a lot of cases.
Even used cars are a bargain now. Used-car sales have not fallen as much as new-car sales, but they are still down. And that means that dealers are more willing to work with you to find a price, and financing, that you like.
Luxury hotel rooms and cruise ship berths are sitting empty, so hotels and cruise lines are cutting prices to lure travelers. If you are in a position to be lured, you can save a lot. For example, hotel rooms in Las Vegas are down by more than one-third from last year. Call your travel agent or check online for a wide range of bargains.
Toymakers have gotten the message: Parents are not willing to take out a loan to buy a hot new toy for their little darling. And the toy companies are responding by introducing less expensive toys. In fact, toy industry research groups say that reasonably priced toys will be the hallmark of the 2009 holiday season.
The tiny, inexpensive netbooks are giving laptops a run for their money. And that’s good news for consumers. Prices on personal computers overall are down more than 10 percent, and laptops are leading the way.
The price of diamonds has dropped more than 10 percent since last summer, which is good news for lovers. There is some bad news, though: The price of gold in which to set a diamond is extremely high. So this is a particularly good time to buy a new diamond to put into an existing setting.
Bargains can be had now in both high-end and lower-end women’s clothes. More consumers are buying less-expensive clothes, which lets those lines benefit from increased production. And at high-end retailers, the sales are more frequent, the price cuts are deeper and the clearance racks are better-stocked.
Even in boom times, electronics tend to come down in price, as manufacturers introduce new and more expensive versions. But now even big-screen flat panel televisions are selling at reduced prices, making this a good time to upgrade your entertainment options.
The drop in home sales has brought a drop in furniture sales, too, since new-home buyers usually buy furniture to put into those homes. At the same time, more people are deciding they can make do with their old couch or dining room set for a few more years. As a result, there are good deals in furniture – and if your credit is good, you can find excellent financing options as well.