New Research Shows Housing Is Affordable For First-Time Buyers
Home prices have been on the rise for the last seven years, leading many housing market analysts to conclude that first-time homebuyers are being shut out of the market due to affordability concerns.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports on the percentage of First-Time Home Buyers (FTHB) on a monthly and yearly basis. Their latest report shows that FTHB’s made up 33% of buyers in March, which matches their reported share in 2018.
NAR uses survey data from their members to come up with this statistic, so their results do not include every transaction completed. Rather, they only the transactions reported by members who complete the survey.
The other entity that reports on FTHB share is the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The AEI uses data from mortgage applications that define an FTHB as “any borrower who did not have a mortgage for the preceding three years.”
This means the AEI measurement also includes former homeowners who transitioned out of a home they previously owned and re-entered the market after at least 3 years. The latest FTHB share data from AEI shows that first-time buyers made up 57.5% of all mortgages in August 2018. NAR’s data shows a 31% share for the same time period.
New research from the New York Federal Reserve shows that these traditional reports on FTHB share have been unable to give an accurate depiction of this group’s involvement in the market.
The NY Fed was able to take consumer credit data and identify when a mortgage payment entered a consumer’s credit report to determine when a first-time home purchase was made. Using this data, they were able to show that AEI’s reported FTHB share was consistently 10% higher. The NAR reports were right on par with their findings until 2010, when NAR’s share dropped to the 11% gap seen today.
So, what does this all mean?
First-time home buyers have not disappeared from the market as many analysts had believed. Buying a home is very much a part of the American Dream for younger generations, just like it had been for their parents and grandparents.
This also means that rising prices have not scared buyers away from the market. Many first-time buyers are making sacrifices to save their down payment and make their dream a reality.
If you are one of the many renters who is scrolling through listings on your phone every night dreaming of buying your own home, there are opportunities in every market to make that dream a reality!
Home Buyers are Optimistic About Homeownership!
When we consider buying an item, we naturally go through a research process prior to making our decision. We ask our friends and family members who have made similar purchases about their experience, we get opinions and insights, and we read reviews online. There’s no difference when considering a home purchase!
Most homebuyers start by listening to the news to hear what is being said about the real estate market. They check with family and friends about their experience. They spend time online reading reviews about their desired neighborhood.
The challenge is that comments from the news and those closest to us can contradict the data and reports. One source says one thing, while another source says something completely different.
“Nearly 70 percent of home shoppers this spring think the U.S. will enter a recession in the next three years, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying to close on a home…Despite the fact that they foresee an economic downturn, they generally expressed confidence that a future recession will be better than 2008 for the housing market.”
The report provides more insights from the survey:
- Nearly 30% of the active home shoppers* surveyed expect the next recession to begin sometime in 2020.
- 56% of shoppers believe home prices have hit their peak.
- 41% believe housing will fare better than 2008.
- 45% of home shoppers feel at least slightly more optimistic about homeownership.
- 33% reported no impact on their feelings about homeownership.
Homebuyers are aware and making decisions with their eyes wide-open. As the report mentioned,
“The fact that some [36%] home shoppers expect the next recession to be harder on the housing market than the last recession suggests that they are buying homes with eyes wide-open and very sober, if not slightly pessimistic, views of the housing market.
This is a stark contrast to the years leading up to the last recession when ‘irrational exuberance’ was more common and yet another reason to expect that the next downturn will be very different for the housing market than the last.”
If you are considering buying a home, let’s get together to help you understand our local market and determine if buying a home is the right choice for you now.
*Active home shoppers are those consumers who responded that they plan to purchase their next home in 1 year or less.
How Quickly Can You Save Your Down Payment?
Saving for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle for a first-time homebuyer. Depending on where you live, median income, median rents, and home prices all vary. So, we set out to find out how long it would take to save for a down payment in each state.
Using data from HUD, Census and Apartment List, we determined how long it would take, nationwide, for a first-time buyer to save enough money for a down payment on their dream home. There is a long-standing ‘rule’ that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their monthly housing expense.
By determining the percentage of income spent renting in each state, and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, we were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save enough money to buy a home of their own.
According to the data, residents in Kansas can save for a down payment the quickest, doing so in just over 1 year (1.12). Below is a map that was created using the data for each state:
What if you only needed to save 3%?
What if you were able to take advantage of one of Freddie Mac’s or Fannie Mae’s 3%-down programs? Suddenly, saving for a down payment no longer takes 2 to 5 years, but becomes possible in less than a year in most states, as shown on the map below.
Whether you have just begun to save for a down payment or have been saving for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Let’s get together to help you evaluate your ability to buy today.
Renters Paying Substantially More While Owning Costs Less
In a recent Insights Blog, CoreLogic reported that rent prices have skyrocketed since 2005. Meanwhile, the typical mortgage payment has actually decreased.
“CoreLogic’s national rent index was up 36% in December 2018 compared with December 2005, while the typical mortgage payment was down 4% over that period.”
Why the difference between the costs of renting versus owning?
It makes sense that rents have risen. However, how did mortgage payments decrease? CoreLogic explained:
“It’s mainly because mortgage rates back in December 2005 were significantly higher, averaging 6.3% for a fixed-rate 30-year loan, compared with 4.6% in December 2018.
The national median sale price in December 2005 – $190,000 – was lower than the $220,305 median in December 2018, but because of higher mortgage rates in 2005 the typical monthly mortgage payment was slightly higher back then – $941 – compared with $904 in December 2018.”
Additionally, a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that purchasing a home requires less of your monthly paycheck.
According to the Economists’ Outlook Blog, NAR’s February 2019 Housing Affordability Index showed that the “percentage of income needed” to pay the typical mortgage has decreased the last three months.
- November – 17.3%
- December – 16.9%
- January – 16.2%
- February – 15.9%
What does this all mean to the current housing market? We think First American said it best in a post last week:
“The mortgage rate-driven affordability surge has arrived just in time… Rising affordability has already benefited home buyers and, if the lower rate environment persists, we’re in for a great spring home-buying season.”
With Inventory Low: Will Your Dream Home Need Some TLC?
According to a new survey from Move.com, the wave of first-time homebuyers hitting the market this summer has resulted in an interesting statistic. Nearly 60% of buyers searching for a home this spring are willing to consider buying a fixer-upper, with 95% believing that the projects needed will increase their new home’s value!
Realtor.com’s Chief Economist, Danielle Hale, pointed to low-inventory at the entry-level price range for the increase in willingness to renovate.
“The combination of rising home prices and limited entry-level homes for sale is prompting many home shoppers to consider homes that need renovating.
Replete with inspiration at their fingertips – like Pinterest, Instagram, and various home renovation TV shows – some home shoppers are comfortable tackling home renovation jobs to find a home that balances their needs with their budget.”
Just over half of all respondents who said they would be willing to buy a home in need of some TLC, would also spend more $20,000 to make the home fit their needs.
The most common ‘expected’ renovation is a kitchen remodel which can run anywhere from $22,000 for a minor remodel to $66,000 for a major remodel.
This isn’t a new trend by any means. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, home improvement project spending reached a new high in 2018.
“Americans spent $336.9 billion on remodeling projects, up 7.4% from the $313.6 billion a year earlier.”
Home renovation television shows have given many buyers hope that they could renovate a home they can afford into their dream home!
If you are one of the many Americans considering buying a home this spring, let’s get together to help you find a house with the potential to be your dream home!
Selling Your House: Here’s Why You Need A Pro In Your Corner!
Real estate agents are trained and experienced in negotiation while, in most cases, the seller is not. Sellers must realize that their ability to negotiate will determine whether or not they get the best deal for themselves and their families.
Here is a list of just some of the people with whom the seller must be prepared to negotiate with if they decide to For Sale by Owner (FSBO):
- The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
- The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interests of the buyer
- The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
- The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
- The termite company, if there are challenges
- The buyer’s lender, if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation
- The appraiser, if there is a question of value
- The title company, if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or other permits
- The town or municipality, if you need to get the CO permits mentioned above
- The buyer’s buyer, in case there are challenges with the house your buyer is selling
The percentage of sellers who have hired real estate agents to sell their homes has increased steadily over the last 20 years. Let’s get together to discuss all that we can do to make the process of selling your house easier for you.
3 Questions You Need To Ask Before Buying A Home
If you are debating purchasing a home right now, you are probably getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in the real estate market.
Ask yourself the following three questions to help determine if now is a good time for you to buy in today’s market.
1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?
This is truly the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with money.
For example, a study by realtor.com found that “73% said buying in a good school district was “important” in their search.”
This report supports a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University which revealed that the top four reasons Americans buy a home have nothing to do with money. The actual reasons are:
- A good place to raise children and provide them with a good education
- A place where you and your family feel safe
- More space for you and your family
- Control of that space
What does owning a home mean to you? What non-financial benefits will you and your family gain from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.
2. Where are home values headed?
According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median price of homes sold in February (the latest data available) was $249,500. This is up 3.6% from last year. The increase also marks the 84th consecutive month with year-over-year gains.
Looking at home prices year over year, CoreLogic is forecasting an increase of 4.6%. In other words, a home that costs you $250,000 today will cost you an additional $11,500 if you wait until next year to buy it.
What does that mean to you?
Simply put, with prices increasing, it may cost you more if you wait until next year to buy. Your down payment will also need to be higher in order to account for the higher price of the home you wish to buy.
3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?
A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long-term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by even a small increase in mortgage rates.
Only you and your family will know for certain if now is the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.
Slaying the Largest Homebuying Myths Today [INFOGRAPHIC]
- The average down payment for first-time homebuyers is only 6%!
- Mortgage interest rates have been on the decline since November! Hop in now to lock in a low rate!
- 88% of property managers raised their rents in the last 12 months!
- The average credit score on approved loans continues to fall across many loan types!
Homebuyers Shouldn’t Worry About 2008 All Over Again
Last week, realtor.com released a survey of active home shoppers (those who plan to purchase their next home in 1 year or less). The survey asked their opinion on an impending recession and its possible impact on the housing market.
Two major takeaways from the survey:
- 42% believe a recession will occur this year or next (another 16% said 2021)
- 59% believe the housing market would fare the same or worse than it did in 2008
Why all the talk about a recession recently?
Over the last year, four separate surveys have been taken asking when we can expect the next recession to occur:
- The Pulsenomics Survey of Market Analysts
- The Wall Street Journal Survey of Economists
- The Duke University Survey of American CFOs
- The National Association of Business Economics
70% of all respondents to the four surveys believe that a recession will occur in 2019 or 2020 with an additional 18% saying 2021.
However, we must realize that a recession does not mean we will experience another housing crash. According to the dictionary definition, a recession is:
“A period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.”
During the last recession, a dramatic fall in home values helped cause it.
However, according to research done by CoreLogic, home values weren’t negatively impacted as they were in 2008 during the previous four recessions:
During the four recessions prior to 2008, home values depreciated only once (at a level that was less than 2%). The other three times home values appreciated, twice well above the historic norm of 3.6%.
If there is an economic slowdown in our near future, there is no need for fear to set in. Most experts agree with Ralph McLaughlin, CoreLogic’s Deputy Chief Economist, who recently explained that there’s no reason to panic right now, even if we may be headed for a recession.
“We’re seeing a cooling of the housing market, but nothing that indicates a crash.”