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.
There’s a Long Line of Buyers Waiting for Your House
If you’re following what’s happening in the housing market right now, you know that many people believe the winter months aren’t a good time to sell a home. As realtor.com Senior Economist George Ratiu recently noted,
“Sellers tend to be more reluctant to list during the colder time of year when the market typically makes a seasonal slowdown.”
However, a recent report by ShowingTime reveals how this year is different. Buyer activity is way up compared to the same time last year. The report explains,
“The nation’s 12.6% growth in home showings compared to 2018 was the most significant jump in buyer traffic during the current four-month streak of year-over-year increases. The West Region saw the greatest growth in activity, with a 23.1% jump – the region’s greatest in the history of the Showing Index.”
Waiting for the “spring buyers’ market” may be a mistake this year. It seems the purchasers are already out and looking to buy.
- Choosing the right real estate professional is one of the most impactful decisions you can make in your home buying or selling process.
- A real estate professional can explain current market conditions and break down what they will mean to you and your family.
- If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2020, make sure to work with someone who has the experience to answer all of your questions about pricing, contracts, and negotiations.
Studies have shown that, in many cases, the largest asset a family owns is the house they live in. Over the last twelve months, that asset has gained substantial value.
CoreLogic just released their 2019 3rd Quarter Homeowner Equity Insights Report. The report revealed that:
“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.”
The equity in a property is determined by comparing the current value of the property against the outstanding mortgage debt. As prices rise, the equity in a home increases.
The report went on to explain that the average homeowner gain in equity over the last twelve months was $5,300.
Here’s a map showing the average equity gain by state:Since the housing crash in 2008, many homeowners have felt trapped in their current houses, as they didn’t have enough equity to sell. The gains in equity over the past few years may have freed some homeowners who have a desire to move.
If you’re curious about your home’s equity, let’s get together to do a market analysis on the current value of your house. You may be pleasantly surprised.
This coming year the housing market will be defined by 3 things- inventory, interest rates, and appreciation. But the biggest issue the housing market will face in 2020 is an inventory shortage. There aren’t enough homes on the market for buyers, especially on the lower end of the market. This is a topic that has come up frequently within the past several months.
Based on what is forecasted, we know that interest rates are projected to remain low and that appreciation is expected to continue as we move into 2020. Additionally, the upcoming election will provoke many unique perspectives on the health of the US housing market. The challenge will be understanding what is actually happening and how you can best position yourself if you are thinking of buying or selling your home.
Here are several perspectives to consider on the inventory issue facing housing next year:
According to realtor.com:
“Despite increases in new construction, next year will once again fail to bring a solution to the inventory shortage that has plagued the housing market since 2015. Inventory could reach a historic low as a steady flow of demand, especially for entry level homes, and declining seller sentiment combine to keep a lid on sales transactions.”
Diana Olick at CNBC:
“Inventory has been falling annually for five straight months, after it recovered slightly toward the end of last year, due to a spike in mortgage rates. Rates began falling again by spring of this year. Homebuilders have been increasing production slowly, but it’s not enough to meet the increasingly strong demand.”
George Ratiu, Senior Economist with realtor.com
“As millennials — the largest cohort of buyers in U.S. history — embrace homeownership and take advantage of this year’s unexpectedly low mortgage rates, demand is outstripping supply, causing inventory to vanish. The housing shortage is felt acutely at the entry-level of the market, where most millennials are looking to break into the market for their first home.”
The most important thing you can do is understand what is happening in your local market. You may not be able to avoid some of the issues brought on by low inventory, but you can be educated and prepared. Let’s connect and discuss the options that make the most sense for you and your family.
It’s exciting to put a house on the market and to think about making new memories in new spaces, but we can have deep sentimental attachments to the homes we’re leaving behind, too. Growing emotions can help or hinder a sale, depending on how we manage them.
When it comes to the bottom line, homeowners need to know what it takes to avoid costly mistakes. Being mindful of these things and prepared for the process can help you avoid some of the most common mishaps when selling your house.
1. Overpricing Your Home
When inventory is low, like it is in the current market, it’s common to think buyers will pay whatever we ask for when we price our homes. Believe it or not, that’s far from the truth. Don’t forget that the buyer’s bank will send an appraisal to determine the fair value for your home. The bank will not lend more than what the house is worth, so be mindful that you might need to renegotiate the price after the appraisal. A real estate professional will help you to set the true value of your home.
2. Letting Your Emotions Interfere with the Sale
Today, most homeowners have been living in their houses for an average of 10 years (as shown in the graph below):This is several years longer than what used to be the norm, since many homeowners have been recouping from negative equity situations over the past 10 years. The side effect, however, is when you live for so long in one place, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it’s the first home you bought after you got married or the house where your children grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories and it’s hard to detach from the sentimental value.
For some homeowners, that makes it even harder to negotiate, separating the emotional value of the home from the fair market price. That’s why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations in the process.
3. Not Staging Your Home
We’re generally quite proud of our décor and how we’ve customized our houses to make them our own personalized homes, but not all buyers will feel the same way about your design. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you stage your home with the buyer in mind. Buyers want to envision themselves in the space, so it truly feels like their own. They need to see themselves in the space with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. Stage and declutter your home so they can visualize their own dreams as they walk through your house. A real estate professional can help you with tips to get your home ready to stage and sell.
Today’s seller’s market might be your best chance to make a move. If you’re considering selling your house, let’s get together to help you navigate through the process while avoiding common seller mistakes.
Winter is a GREAT time to list and sell your house. There is less competition and the Buyers in the market are more serious than in the Spring and Summer.
- Winter is a great time to list a house, since inventory is traditionally low, and most sellers are holding off until spring to put their homes on the market.
- Waiting for warmer weather when more competition is on the market will only put your house up against many more choices for buyers.
- Get your house ready to sell now with quick and easy fixes that make a big impact.
Over the past year, mortgage rates have fallen more than a full percentage point. This is a great driver for homeownership, as today’s low rates provide consumers with some significant benefits. Here’s a look at three of them:
- Refinance: If you already own a home, you may want to decide if you’re going to refinance. It’s one way to lock in a lower monthly payment and save substantially over time, but it also means paying upfront closing costs too. You have to answer the question: Should I refinance my home?
- Move-up or Downsize: Another option is to consider moving into a new home, putting the equity you’ve likely gained in your current house toward a down payment on a new one that better meets your needs – something that’s truly a perfect fit for your family.
- Become a First-Time Homebuyer: There are many financial and non-financial benefits to owning a home, and the most important thing is to first decide when the time is right for you. You have to determine that on your own, but know that now is a great time to buy if you’re considering it. Just take a look at the cost of renting vs. buying
Why 2019 Was a Great Year for Homeownership
Last year at this time, mortgage rates were 4.63% (substantially higher than they are today). If you’re one who waited for a better time to make a move, market conditions have improved significantly. Today’s low mortgage rates combined with increasing wages are making homes much more affordable than they were just one year ago, so it’s a great time to get more for your money and consider a new home.
If you’ve been waiting since last year to make your move into homeownership, or to find a house that better meets your needs, today’s low mortgage rates may be just what you need to get the process going. Let’s get together to discuss how you can benefit from the current rates.
Did you know that each year in the United States, we celebrate “National Roof Over Your Head Day” on December 3rd?
As noted on the National Calendar, it was “created as a day to be thankful for what you have, starting with the roof over your head. There are many things that we have that we take for granted and do not stop to appreciate how fortunate we are for having them.”
From bungalows to cottages, and farmhouses to treehouses, today we show our appreciation and gratitude for the places we call home. Owning the roof that shelters us is something many renters still aspire to, knowing there are so many financial and non-financial benefits to homeownership.
According to the 2019 State of the Nation’s Housing from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University,
“Cost-burdened renters now outnumber cost-burdened homeowners by more than 3.0 million. In addition, renters make up 10.8 million of the 18.2 million severely burdened households that pay more than half their incomes for housing.”
Homeownership drives many benefits, including providing families with a place to feel secure. It also helps promote confidence that they are investing proactively in themselves and their communities. That is why there are 77.7 million owner-occupied housing units in the United States.
Many, however, fear it is too expensive to own a home. In reality, however, it’s actually more expensive to rent. Here’s the breakdown as a percentage of income necessary for both – affording median rent and owning a home:
Today we pause to appreciate the places we call home, and all of the other reasons we have to be truly thankful. For those who don’t own yet and would like to, it’s a wonderful time to start identifying the steps to take toward homeownership. Let’s connect today to begin creating your plan.