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.
Bottom LineIf you are one of the many renters who is spending too much of their monthly income on rent, consider saving money by getting a roommate, moving into a less expensive apartment, or even moving in with family. These are all ways to save for a down payment so that you can put your housing costs to work for you!
Lately, there have been many headlines circulating about whether or not there is an “affordability issue forming in the housing market.” If you are considering selling your current house and moving up to the home of your dreams, but are unsure whether or not to believe what you’re seeing in the news, let’s look at the results of the latest Housing Affordability Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). According to NAR:
“A 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 above 100 signifies that a family earning the median income has more than enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment.”
- The national index results for August came in at 141.2.
- This is up from 138.9 in July, but down 8.3% from last August’s value of 153.9.
Bottom LineIf you are thinking of selling your home, let’s get together to discuss the affordability conditions in your town.
Owning a home has great financial benefits, yet many continue to rent! Today, let’s look at the financial reasons why owning a home of your own has been a part of the American Dream for the entirety of America’s existence. Realtor.com reported that:
“Buying remains the more attractive option in the long term – that remains the American dream, and it’s true in many markets where renting has become really the shortsighted option…as people get more savings in their pockets, buying becomes the better option.”
What proof exists that owning is financially better than renting?1. In a previous blog, we highlighted the top 5 financial benefits of homeownership:
- Homeownership is a form of forced savings.
- Homeownership provides tax savings.
- Homeownership allows you to lock in your monthly housing cost.
- Buying a home is cheaper than renting.
- No other investment lets you live inside of it.
Bottom LineOwning your home has many social and financial benefits that cannot be achieved by renting.
- According to a study by GOBankingRates, it is cheaper to buy a home than rent in 38 states across the country.
- In six states the difference between buying & renting would account for less than a $50 monthly difference, leaving the choice up to the individual family.
- Nationwide, it is now 26.3% cheaper to buy.
There are many things that factor into the decision to buy a home. New research from the Urban Institute suggests that one of those things may be inherited from your parents.
Children are More Likely to Own a Home if Their Parents DidAccording to an analysis of millennial homeowners, the homeownership rate of those whose parents rent their homes is 14.4%, while the rate amongst millennials whose parents are homeowners is 31.7%!
“A young adult’s odds of homeownership are highly correlated with their parent’s homeownership. Without controlling for such factors as age, income, education, marital status, and race or ethnicity, there is a 17 percentage-point gap between the homeownership rate for young adults whose parents are renters and young adults whose parents are homeowners.”The study also revealed that as a parent’s net worth increases, so does the likelihood that their child will own a home. These two findings are not surprising as we know from the Survey of Consumer Finances that a homeowner’s net worth is 44x greater than that of a renter. So, a parent who is a homeowner will have more wealth which will, in turn, increase the chances that their children will own their own homes in the future. Below is a breakdown of the relationship between a parent’s wealth and a millennial’s likelihood to own a home. The Good News: The high homeownership rate amongst baby boomers (likely the parents of many millennials) is a great sign that millennials will want to own homes. We are already seeing this in the high-demand environment that we are currently experiencing in the starter and trade-up markets.
Bottom LineEven though millennials took longer than many of the generations before them to start home searches of their own, the data shows that they will not be waiting much longer!
There are many benefits to homeownership, but one of the top benefits is protecting yourself from rising rents by locking in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.
Don’t Become TrappedA recent article by Apartment List addressed rising rents by stating:
“Our national rent index is up 0.1 percent month-over-month, marking the sixth straight month of increasing rents. Year-over-year growth now stands at 1.2 percent.”The article continues, explaining that:
“Rents increased month-over-month in 62 of the nation’s 100 largest cities, down significantly from the 85 cities that saw rents rise last month. That said, rents are still up year-over-year in most of the nation’s largest markets — 77 of the 100 largest cities have seen rents increase over the past twelve months.”Additionally, Urban Land Magazine explained that,
“Currently, nearly half (47 percent) of renter households are cost burdened (i.e., paying more than 30 percent of income for housing), while 25 percent (totaling 11 million households) are severely cost burdened, paying over 50 percent of their total household income for rent.”These households struggle to save for a rainy day and pay other bills, including groceries and healthcare.
It’s Cheaper to Buy Than RentAs we have previously mentioned, the results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States. The updated numbers show that the range is an average of 2% less expensive in Honolulu (HI), all the way up to 48.9% less expensive in Detroit (MI), and 26.3% nationwide!
Know Your OptionsPerhaps you have already saved enough to buy your first home. A nationwide survey of about 1,166 renters found that 34% said they rent because they cannot afford to buy, 29% said they cannot afford to buy where they live, and nearly a quarter (24%) were saving to buy. Many first-time homebuyers who believe that they need a large down payment may be holding themselves back from their dream homes. As we have reported before, in many areas of the country, a first-time homebuyer can save for a 3% down payment in less than two years. You may have already saved enough!
Bottom LineDon’t get caught in the trap that so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Let’s get together to determine if you can qualify for a mortgage today!
There are some people who have not purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize, however, that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s. As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:
“While renting on a temporary basis isn’t terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you’re serious about your finances. It won’t make you rich overnight, but by renting, you’re paying someone else’s mortgage. In effect, you’re making someone else rich.”With home prices rising, many renters are concerned about their house-buying power. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explained:
“Over the last three years, renter house-buying power has increased fast enough to keep pace with house price appreciation, so the share of homes that a renter can afford to buy has remained the same since 2015. Although mortgage rates are expected to rise, they are still low by historic standards, and real household incomes are the highest they have ever been. Assuming this trend continues, our measure of affordability, which takes into account income, interest rates, and house prices, indicates that homeownership is still within reach for renters.”As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person building that equity. Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.51% last week.
Bottom LineWhether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.
Homeowner Net WorthEvery three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. Their latest survey data, covering 2013-2016 was recently released. The study revealed that the median net worth of a homeowner was $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.
Owning a home is a great way to build family wealthAs we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home. That is why, for the fifth year in a row, Gallup reported that Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment. This year’s results showed that 34% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 26% and then gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.
Greater equity in your home gives you optionsIf you want to find out how you can use the increased equity in your home to move to a home that better fits your current lifestyle, let’s get together to discuss the process. You'll be glad you did!
Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. Their latest survey data, covering 2013-2016 was recently released. The study revealed that the median net worth of a homeowner was $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.