There’s a current narrative that owning a home today is less affordable than it has been in the past. The reason some are making this claim is because house prices have substantially increased over the last several years.
It’s not, however, just the price of a home that matters.
Homes, in most cases, are purchased with a mortgage. The current mortgage rate is a major component of the affordability equation. Mortgage rates have fallen by over a full percentage point since December 2018. Another major piece of the affordability equation is a buyer’s income. The median family income has risen by approximately 3% over the last year.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) releases a monthly Housing Affordability Index. The latest index shows that home affordability is better today than at almost any point over the last 30 years. The index determines how affordable homes are based on the following:
“A Home Affordability Index value of 100 means that a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home. An index of 120 signifies that a family earning the median income has 20 percent more than the level of income needed pay the mortgage on a median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment so that the monthly payment and interest will not exceed 25 percent of this level of income (qualifying income).”
The higher the index, therefore, the more affordable homes are. Here is a graph showing the index since 1990:Obviously, affordability was better during the housing crash when distressed properties – foreclosures and short sales – sold at major discounts (2009-2015). Outside of that period, however, homes are more affordable today than any other year since 1990, except for 2016.
The report on the index also includes a section that calculates the mortgage payment on a median priced home as a percentage of the median national income. Historically, that percentage is just above 21%. Here are the percentages since June of 2018:Again, we can see that affordability is much better today than the historical average and has been getting better over the last year and a half.
Whether you’re thinking about buying your first home or moving up to the home of your dreams, don’t let the false narrative about affordability prevent you from moving forward. From an affordability standpoint, this is one of the best times to buy in the last 30 years.
According to an Urban Institute study, homeowners who purchase a house before age 35 are better prepared for retirement at age 60.
The good news is, our younger generations are strong believers in homeownership.
According to a Freddie Mac survey,
“The dream of homeownership is alive and well within “Generation Z,” the demographic cohort following Millennials.
Our survey…finds that Gen Z views homeownership as an important goal. They estimate that they will attain this goal by the time they turn 30 years old, three years younger than the current median homebuying age (33).”
Based on this data, those who purchased their first homes when they were younger than 25 had an average of $10,000 left on their mortgage at age 60. The 50% of buyers who purchased in their mid-20s and early-30s had close to $50,000 left, but traditionally purchased more expensive homes.Although the vast majority of Gen Zers want to own a home and are somewhat confident in their future, “In terms of financial awareness, 65% of Gen Z respondents report that they are not confident in their knowledge of the mortgage process.”
As the numbers show, you’re not alone. If you want to buy this year but you’re not sure where to start the process, let’s get together to help you understand the best steps to take from here.
Which month do you think most people who are considering buying a home actually start their search? If you’re like most of us, you probably think the surge happens in the spring, likely in April. Not anymore. According to new research, January 2019 was only 1% behind February for the most monthly views per listing on realtor.com.
So, what does that mean? The busiest season in real estate has just begun.
The same research indicates,
“Historically, April launched the kickoff of the home shopping season as buyers would come out of their winter hibernation looking for their new home. However, the spring shopping season now starts in January for many of the nation's largest markets.”
With the reality of fewer homes on the market in the winter, and that supply naturally increases as we head to the spring market, waiting for more competition to list in your neighborhood this year might put you behind the curve. Perhaps now is the time to jump into the market.
George Ratiu, Senior Economist at realtor.com says,
“As shoppers modify their strategies for navigating a housing market that has become more competitive due to rising prices and low inventory, the search for a home is beginning earlier and earlier.”
There is a lot of speculation in the market about why the search for a home is shifting to an earlier start. The one thing we do know is if you’re thinking about buying or selling a home this year, the earlier you get started, the better.
Reminder: When should you sell something? When there is less of that item for sale and the greatest number of buyers are in the market. That’s exactly what is happening in real estate right now.
The new spring market for real estate is underway. If you’re considering buying or selling, let’s connect, so you have the advantage in this competitive market.
Outside of a strong economy, low unemployment, and higher wages, there are three more great reasons why you may want to consider buying your dream home this year instead of waiting.
Several reports indicate that real estate is a good investment, topping other options such as gold, stocks, bonds, and savings. Why? Real estate helps build equity, a form of investing for you and your family. According to CoreLogic’s Equity Report,
“U.S. homeowners with mortgages (roughly 64% of all properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of nearly $457 billion since the third quarter 2018, an increase of 5.1%, year over year.”
This means the average homeowner gained approximately $5,300 in equity over the past year. If you want to start building your equity, put your housing costs to work for you through homeownership this year.
The Primary Mortgage Market Survey from Freddie Mac indicates that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have fallen since November 2018 when they hit 4.94%. In their latest forecast, Freddie Mac expects rates to remain low, leveling out to a yearly average of 3.8% in 2020.
When you purchase a home at a low mortgage rate, it will impact your monthly mortgage payment, giving you the opportunity to buy more house for your money.
There are some renters who haven’t purchased a home yet because they’re uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you’re living rent-free with your parents, you’re paying a mortgage – either yours or that of your landlord.
Today, rental prices continue to increase, and when you’re paying your landlord’s mortgage instead of your own, you’re not the one earning the equity. As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ you can use later in life to reinvest in your family. You can use it for a variety of opportunities, such as saving for your children’s education, moving up to a bigger home, or starting your own business. As a renter, it can be more challenging to achieve those types of dreams without home equity working for you.
Buying a home sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings and long-term financial growth for you and your family. Let’s get together to determine if homeownership is the right choice for you this year.
Rising home prices coupled with the current inventory in today's market may cause some homeowners to consider selling their homes on their own (known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner). However, a FSBO might be hard to execute well for the vast majority of sellers.
1. Online Strategy for Prospective Purchasers
Studies have shown that 93% of buyers search online for a home. That’s a pretty staggering number! Most real estate agents have an Internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?
2. Results Come from the Internet
According to NAR, here’s where buyers found the homes they actually purchased:
The days of selling your house by putting up a sign in your yard or placing an ad in the paper are long gone. Having a strong Internet strategy is crucial.
3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With
Here’s a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to FSBO:
4. FSBOing Has Become Increasingly Difficult
The paperwork involved in buying or selling a home has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.
5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent
Many homeowners believe they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own, but the seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.
A report by Zillow revealed that FSBOs are inclined to do so because they believe it will save money (46 percent cite this among their top three reasons), but they don’t actually save anything, and eventually end up listing with an agent.
The same report revealed that,
“While 36% of sellers that (at first) attempted to sell their homes on their own, only 11 percent of sellers—in other words, less than a third…actually sold without an agent.”
It appears working with a real estate professional is the best answer.
Before you decide to take on the challenges of selling your house on your own, let’s get together to discuss your needs.
If you are ready to start your buying or selling process
give me a call at 478-954-3774 - I´m happy to answer all your questions.