Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts its Survey of Consumer Finances. Data is collected across all economic and social groups. The latest survey data covers 2013-2016 and was conducted to learn how to increase family's net worth. The study revealed that the median net worth of a homeowner is $231,400 – a 15% increase since 2013. At the same time, the median net worth of renters decreased by 5% ($5,200 today compared to $5,500 in 2013). These numbers reveal that the net worth of a homeowner is over 44 times greater than that of a renter.
Some Highlights: Rent Vs. Own
- Owning your own home vs. renting may lead to some great options, such as locking in your monthly payments and having the freedom to customize your living space.
- Whether you rent or own, you have to cover someone’s mortgage costs. You may as well be doing so to build your own wealth, rather than that of your landlord.
- Renting and owning both have up-front fees when you sign your lease or close, respectively. Think about putting that money to work for you!
There are many financial benefits to homeownership, but probably none more important than its ability to create family wealth. How Housing Matters is a joint project of the Urban Land Institute and the MacArthur Foundation. It is an online resource for research and information on how homeownership contributes to individual and community success. Their article, The First Rung on the Ladder to Economic Opportunity Is Housing, explains the importance of homeownership to a family’s financial health. In that article, they simply stated:
“The ladder to economic success can stretch only so high without the asset-building power of homeownership.”To this point, National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Economists’ Outlook Blog revealed in a recent post:
“Housing wealth contributes positively to the homeowner’s and children’s economic condition, because home equity can be tapped for expenditures such as investing in another property (which can generate rental income), home renovation (which further increases the home value), a child’s college education, emergency or major life events, or expenses in retirement… Housing wealth (or net worth or equity) is built up over time via the home price appreciation and the principal payments that the homeowner makes on the loan.”Here is a graph showing the build-up of wealth over time:Just last month, NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, explained that even though home appreciation has slowed, homeowners are still building wealth:
“Homeowners in the majority of markets are continuing to enjoy price gains, albeit at a slower rate of growth. A typical homeowner accumulated $9,500 in wealth over the past year.”
Later in life, this wealth is crucial…This wealth is important to a family’s retirement plans. In a recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University titled, Housing America’s Older Adults 2018, they revealed that a renter 65 years old or older has a net worth of $6,710. Meanwhile, a homeowner 65+ years old has a net worth of $319,200. That huge difference will allow for a dramatic upgrade in one’s lifestyle during your retirement years.
Bottom LineHomeownership builds wealth. This, in turn, allows families to have more and better options when it comes to their children and their life in retirement.
Here are four reasons to buy a home today instead of waiting.
1. Prices Will Continue to RiseCoreLogic’s latest U.S. Home Price Insights reports that home prices have appreciated by 3.7% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.8% over the next year. Home values will continue to appreciate. Waiting may no longer makes sense.
2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to IncreaseFreddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have started to level off around 4.3%. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting rates will increase by this time next year. An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.
3. Either Way, You Are Paying a MortgageSome renters have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s. As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity. Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?
4. It’s Time to Move On with Your LifeThe ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But what if they weren’t? Would you wait? Examine the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, greater safety for your family, or you just want to have control over renovations, now could be the time to buy.
Bottom LineIf the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.
Recently, multiple headlines have been written asserting that homeownership is less affordable today than at any other time in the last decade. Though the headlines are accurate, they lack context and lead too many Americans to believe that they can’t partake in a major part of the American Dream – owning a home. In 2008, the housing market crashed and home values fell by as much as 60% in certain markets. This was the major trigger to the Great Recession we experienced from 2008 to 2010. To come back from that recession, mortgage interest rates were pushed down to levels that were never seen before. For the last ten years, you could purchase a home at a dramatically discounted price and attain a mortgage at a historically low mortgage rate. Affordability skyrocketed. Now that home values have returned to where they should be, and mortgage rates are beginning to increase, it is less affordable to own a home than it was over the last ten years. However, what is not being reported is that it is MORE AFFORDABLE to own a home today than at any other time since 1985 (when data was first collected on this point). If you take out the years after the crash, affordability today is greater than it has been at almost any time in American history. This has not been adequately reported which has led to many Americans believing that they cannot currently afford a home. As an example, the latest edition of Freddie Mac’s Research: Profile of Today’s Renter reveals that 75% of renters now believe it is more affordable to rent than to own their own homes. This percentage is the highest ever recorded. The challenge is that this belief is incorrect. Study after study has proven that in today’s market, it is less expensive to own a home than it is to rent a home in the United States. Thankfully, some are starting to see this situation and accurately report on it. The National Association of Realtors, in their 2019 Housing Forecast, mentions this concern:
“While the U.S. is experiencing historically normal levels of affordability, potential buyers may be staying out of the market because of perceived problems with affordability.”
Bottom LineIf you are one of the many renters who would like to own their own homes, let’s get together to find out if homeownership is affordable for you right now.
Chances are if you are renting you are spending too much of your income on your monthly housing expense. There is a long-standing ‘rule’ that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their rent or mortgage payment. This percentage allows the household to save money for the future while comfortably covering other expenses. According to new data released from ApartmentList.com, 49.5 million renters in the United States were cost-burdened in 2017, meaning they spent more than 30% of their monthly incomes on rent. This accounts for nearly half of all renter households in the country and is up 3.1 million from 2007. When a household is cost-burdened by their monthly housing expense, they are not as easily able to save money for the future. This is a big factor for many renters who dream of owning their own homes someday. But there is hope for those who are able to save at least a 3% down payment! The percentage of income needed in the US to buy a home is significantly less than renting at 17.1%! The chart below compares the historic percentage of income needed to rent and buy from 1985-2000 to the first quarter of 2018. As you can see, the cost of renting has climbed above historic numbers while the cost of buying dropped over the same period of time.