Busting the Myth About a Housing Affordability Crisis
It seems you can’t find a headline with the term “housing affordability” without the word “crisis” attached to it. That’s because some only consider the fact that residential real estate prices have continued to appreciate. However, we must realize it’s not just the price of a home that matters, but the price relative to a purchaser’s buying power.
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 3.5% over the last year.
Let’s look at three different reports issued recently that reveal how homes are very affordable in comparison to historic numbers, and how they have become even more affordable over the past several months.
1. National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Housing Affordability Index:
Here is a graph showing the index going all the way back to 1990. The higher the column, the more affordable homes are:We can see that homes are less affordable today (the green bar) than they were during the housing crash (the red bars). This was when distressed properties like foreclosures and short sales saturated the market and sold for massive discounts. However, homes are more affordable today than at any time from 1990 to 2008.
2. Black Knight’s Mortgage Monitor:
This report reveals that as a result of falling interest rates and slowing home price appreciation, affordability is the best it has been in 18 months. Black Knight Data & Analytics President Ben Graboske explains:
“For much of the past year and a half, affordability pressures have put a damper on home price appreciation. Indeed, the rate of annual home price growth has declined for 15 consecutive months. More recently, declining 30-year fixed interest rates have helped to ease some of those pressures, improving the affordability outlook considerably…And despite the average home price rising by more than $12K since November, today’s lower fixed interest rates have worked out to a $108 lower monthly payment…Lower rates have also increased the buying power for prospective homebuyers looking to purchase the average-priced home by the equivalent of 15%.”
3. First American’s Real House Price Index:
While affordability has increased recently, Mark Fleming, First American’s Chief Economist explains:
“If the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage declines just a fraction more, consumer house-buying power would reach its highest level in almost 20 years.”
Fleming goes on to say that the gains in affordability are about mortgage rates and the increase in family incomes:
“Average nominal household incomes are nearly 57 percent higher today than in January 2000. Record income levels combined with mortgage rates near historic lows mean consumer house-buying power is more than 150 percent greater today than it was in January 2000.”
If you’ve put off the purchase of a first home or a move-up home because of affordability concerns, you should take another look at your ability to purchase in today’s market. You may be pleasantly surprised!
5 Real Estate Reality TV Myths Explained
Have you ever been flipping through the channels, only to find yourself glued to the couch in an HGTV binge session? We’ve all been there, watching entire seasons of shows like “Property Brothers,” “Fixer Upper,” and “Love It or List It,” all in one sitting.
When you’re in the middle of your real estate-themed TV show marathon, you might start to think everything you see on the screen must be how it works in real life. However, you may need a reality check.
Reality TV Show Myths vs. Real Life:
Myth #1: Buyers look at 3 homes and decide to purchase one of them.
Truth: There may be buyers who fall in love and buy the first home they see, but according to the National Association of Realtors, the average homebuyer tours 10 homes as a part of their search.
Myth #2: The houses the buyers are touring are still for sale.
Truth: Everything is staged for TV. Many of the homes shown are already sold and are off the market.
Myth #3: The buyers haven’t made a purchase decision yet.
Truth: Since there is no way to show the entire buying process in a 30-minute show, TV producers often choose buyers who are further along in the process and have already chosen a home to buy.
Myth #4: If you list your home for sale, it will ALWAYS sell at the open house.
Truth: Of course, this would be great! Open houses are important to guarantee the most exposure to buyers in your area, but they are only one piece of the overall marketing of your home. Keep in mind, many homes are sold during regular showing appointments as well.
Myth #5: Homeowners decide to sell their homes after a 5-minute conversation.
Truth: Similar to the buyers portrayed on the shows, many of the sellers have already spent hours deliberating the decision to list their homes and move on with their lives and goals.
Having an experienced professional on your side while navigating the real estate market is the best way to guarantee you can make the home of your dreams a true reality.
Rent Vs. Own [INFOGRAPHIC]
- 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!
How Much Do You Know About Down Payments?
Whether you’ve owned a home before, or you’re ready to jump into homeownership for the first time, there are always a lot of questions swirling around about what is truly required for a down payment, and how to best source down payment assistance. Let’s tackle these two today.
1. How much do you really need for a down payment?
There is a long-standing misconception about down payment requirements. A survey from Fannie Mae shows only 17% of consumers know the minimum options are actually between 1 – 5% of the purchase price and 40% don’t know how much they need at all.There are many mortgage loans available that require as little as 3% down for first-time buyers, and some ask for only 3.5% down from repeat buyers. There are even loans available for Veterans that provide 0% down payment options too.
We’ve mentioned recently that you don’t need to come up with a 20% down payment to buy, and we’ve also shared how quickly you can save for a 3% or 10% down payment, depending on where you live. If you’re planning to put down just 3%, the research shows it may be possible in most states to have enough saved for a down payment in less than a year. That puts homeownership in a much closer reach for many potential buyers, maybe even you!
2. How can I get help with my down payment?
Regardless of the loans available, many buyers still need assistance with a down payment. The great news is, there are a lot of ways to tap into down payment assistance options. Here are just a couple of them:
Assistance from Family Members
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) said, “a third of recent first-time buyers received down payment assistance from family members.” They also mentioned, “the average net worth of those aged 75 and over stands at $264,800…They just might offer the boost the next generation needs to become homeowners.”
That means one of the ways to find help with a down payment is to accept a gift from a family member. If this is an option for you, make sure you talk to your loan officer before you accept the money, to ensure you document the process the way it is required by your loan. This way, it will be received properly and you can still potentially qualify.
Down Payment Assistance Programs
The reality is, not everyone has a loved one or a family member who can provide help with a down payment. There are, however, more than 2,500 down payment assistance programs available (by local areas like city, county, or neighborhood), and some of them are even specifically for first-time buyers.
The gap, as mentioned in the same survey, is “only 23% of consumers are familiar with low down payment programs.”
That’s why it is so important to get familiar with these options by doing your homework before you plan to buy a home. Determine what is available in the area where you ultimately want to live, so you have all the details you need to take advantage of the down payment assistance option that is best for your family.
If buying a home is one of your long-term goals, you may be able to get there sooner than you think by tapping into one of the many down payment assistance programs available.
Millionaire to Millennials: The Costly Mistake of Not Buying Now
On his personal website, self-made millionaire David Bach makes a striking statement:
“Not prioritizing homeownership is the single biggest mistake millennials are making.”
He further stated, “Buying a home is an escalator to wealth.”
“Young adults in particular aren’t hopping on this escalator, and it’s a costly mistake…If millennials don’t buy a home, their chances of actually having any wealth in this country are little to none.”
He then elaborates on the game of homeownership:
“Start by crunching the numbers…actually do the math…This way, you’re really clear on your goals and you won’t just say to yourself, ‘I’ll never afford this!’
A good rule of thumb is to make sure your total monthly housing payment doesn’t consume more than 30 percent of your take-home pay.”
Bach concludes by saying,
“Oftentimes, buying your first home means you’re not buying your dream home…You’re just getting into the market.”
Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, listeners usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire shares some simple and straightforward insights: “The fact is, you aren’t really in the game of building wealth until you own some real estate.”
Who is David Bach?
Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, and USA Today bestseller lists.
He has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show, appearing more than 100 times, as well as a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS. He has also been profiled in many major publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes.
Existing Home Sales Point Toward a Good Time to Sell [INFOGRAPHIC]
- Existing Home Sales dropped 1.7% from May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.27 million in June.
- Low inventory levels are still a factor in the market. The current supply of homes for sale is at 4.4 months, which is less than the optimal 6-month supply.
- Median home prices were up 4.3% from June 2018, hitting $285,700. This marked the 88th consecutive month with year-over-year price gains.
How to Increase Your Equity Over the Next 5 Years
Many of the questions currently surrounding the real estate industry focus on home prices and where they are heading. The most recent Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES) helps target these projected answers.
Here are the results from the Q2 2019 Survey:
- Home values will appreciate by 4.1% in 2019
- The average annual appreciation will be 3.2% over the next 5 years
- The cumulative appreciation will be 16.8% by 2023
- Even experts representing the most “bearish” quartile of the survey project a cumulative appreciation of over 6.7% by 2023
What does this mean for you?
A substantial portion of family wealth comes from home equity. As the value of a family’s home (an asset) increases, so does their equity.
Using the projections from the HPES, here is a look at the potential equity a family could earn over the next five years if they purchased a $250,000 home in January of 2019:Based on gains in home equity, their family wealth could increase by $42,000 over that five-year period.
If you don’t yet own a home, now may be the time to purchase. Owning or moving up to your dream home could allow you to ride the increase in equity of a growing asset.
Home Price Expectation survey – Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts regarding their 5-year expectations for future home prices in the United States.
Is Renting Right for Me?
If you’re currently renting and have dreams of owning your own home, it may be a good time to think about your next move. With rent costs rising annually and many helpful down payment assistance programs available, homeownership may be closer than you realize.
According to the 2018 Bank of America Homebuyer Insights Report, 74% of renters plan on buying within the next 5 years, and 38% are planning to buy within the next 2 years.
When those same renters were asked why they disliked renting, 52% said rising rental costs were their top reason, and 42% of renters believe their rent will rise every year. The full results of the survey can be seen below:It’s no wonder rising rental costs came in as the top answer. The median asking rent price has risen steadily over the last 30 years, as you can see below.There is a long-standing rule that a household should not spend more than 28% of its income on housing expenses. With nearly half of renters (48%) surveyed already spending more than that, and with their rents likely to rise again, it’s never a bad idea to reconsider your family’s plan and ask yourself if renting is your best angle going forward. When asked why they haven’t purchased a home yet, not having enough saved for a down payment (44%) came in as the top response. The report went on to reveal that nearly half of all respondents believe that “a 20% down payment is required to buy a home.”
The reality is, the need to produce a 20% down payment is one of the biggest misconceptions of homeownership, especially for first-time buyers. That means a large number of renters may be able to buy now, and they don’t even know it.
If you’re one of the many renters who are tired of rising rents but may be confused about what is required to buy in today’s market, let’s get together to determine your path to homeownership.
The Cost of Waiting: Interest Rates Edition [INFOGRAPHIC]
- Interest rates are projected to increase steadily heading into 2020.
- The higher your interest rate, the more money you will end up paying for your home and the higher your monthly payment will be.
- Rates are still low right now – don’t wait until they hit 5% to start searching for your dream home!