Q: I bought your book and it’s great! I wanted to ask you for some of your expert real estate advice.

I live in San Diego and am considering buying a new home. Do you think that the housing market in San Diego is appreciating too quickly? It seems like right now is more like the sellers market. I was wondering of your opinion of whether you thought that the housing market in San Diego is at its peak.

I remember right after the September 11 incident, rates dropped and that would have been the perfect time to buy. Since then, I have procrastinated buying a house and now prices are ridiculously high. I remember in November and December of 2001 a 4/3 house was like $280,000 to $300,000. Now, a 2/2 house is between $280,000 to $430,000.

A: I’m glad you’re finding my home-buyer’s book to be helpful (you are reading “100 Questions Every First-time Home Buyer Should Ask”, right? Or, are you reading “10 Steps To Homeownership”?).

Prices are high and it looks as though they may stay high or go higher for a couple of reasons: more people are moving to major metropolitan areas; interest rates are low; and, there are more first-time buyers entering the market.

What could cause prices to sink, albeit temporarily? Something would have to shake local confidence, like another September 11th. Or, a local employer would have to close and fire a huge number of homeowners in one particular neighborhood. Or, an environmental problem would have to be discovered in a neighborhood (the price of effect of this issue could last a long time).

If prices are too high in the neighborhood you like, look to move to the outskirts of that neighborhood. You could be an “urban pioneer” and reap the benefits of your move. Or, buy a fixer upper. A final thought is to buy a two- or three-family home and rent out the other units.

Start by getting pre-approved for a home loan so you know what you can afford. Thanks for writing. And, check out my website, www.thinkglink.com, for more information on this and other personal finance topics.