Harvard: 5 Reasons Why Owning A Home Makes Sense Financially

Harvard: 5 Reasons Why Owning A Home Makes Sense Financially | MyKCM

We have reported many times that the American Dream of homeownership is alive and well. The personal reasons to own a home differ for each buyer, but there are many basic similarities.

Eric Belsky is the Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University. He authored a paper on homeownership titled – The Dream Lives On: The Future of Homeownership in America.In his paper, Belsky reveals five financial reasons why people should consider buying a home.

Here are the five reasons, each followed by an excerpt from the study: 

1) Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available.

“Few households are interested in borrowing money to buy stocks and bonds and few lenders are willing to lend them the money. As a result, homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”

2) You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent.

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.” 

3) Owning is usually a form of “forced savings.”

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

4) There are substantial tax benefits to owning.

“Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income…On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain.”

5) Owning is a hedge against inflation.

“Housing costs and rents have tended over most time periods to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation, making owning an attractive proposition. 

Bottom Line

We realize that homeownership makes sense for many Americans for an assortment of social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially. If you are considering a purchase this year, let’s get together and evaluate your ability to do so.

US Housing Market Swings in Favor of Homeownership

US Housing Market Swings in Favor of Homeownership | MyKCM

According to the latest Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index, homeownership is a better way to produce greater wealth, on average, than renting. The results from the first quarter index showed that “16 of the 23 metropolitan markets investigated moved in the direction of buy territory.”

The BH&J Index is a quarterly report that attempts to answer the question: 

Is it better to rent or buy a home in today’s housing market?

“The U.S. housing market, when considered as a whole, has swung marginally more in favor of home ownership over renting a comparable property and investing monthly rent savings in a portfolio of stocks and bonds.”

The latest results were released shortly after the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which reported that home prices had climbed 5.4% nationally since March 2015.

Ken Johnson Ph.D., Real Estate Economist & Professor at Florida Atlantic University, and one of the index’s authors states:

“This [growth] appears to be driven by a steady but strengthening job market, rising rents relative to rising ownership costs and recent slower growth in traditional financial portfolios consisting of stocks and bonds.”

Dallas and Denver are two of the major cities that continued to move deeper into rent territory, but they moved at a slower rate than they had in previous quarters. Johnson believes that, in these two markets, “strong economic support…should make for a soft landing in terms of slowing property price growth, increased marketing time for properties and lower probabilities that sellers will actually transact and close during a given marketing effort of their property.”

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year, so lock in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.

What’s Happening in the Real Estate Market?

What’s Happening in the Real Estate Market? | MyKCM

This is a pretty common question that a potential home buyer or seller may be asking themselves. Leading economists in real estate converged in New Orleans this past week as they presented their answer to this question at the 50th Annual Real Estate Journalism Conference for the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

Here are the top takeaways from the week of presentations:

Many of the conversations at the conference came back to the impact that Millennials and first-time home buyers will have on the market in the future. Jonathan Smoke, Chief Economist for realtor.com had this to say: 

“At any given time in our history, demographics would explain 60-80% of what’s happening [in the market], and we are in a period of time where Millennials make up a largest demographic group according to the Census, at 84 million.”

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the median first-time home buyer age is 30 and many millennials are entering a prime age to drive the housing market into the future.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for NAR shared that myths and affordability may be holding back potential buyers:

“84% of current renters have the desire to own. While 36% believe they cannot afford a home and 60% of renters believe it would be ‘difficult’ to qualify for a mortgage.

Ellie Mae’s Vice President, Jonas Moe encouraged buyers to know their options before assuming that they do not qualify for a mortgage: 

“Many potential home buyers are ‘disqualifying’ themselves. You don’t need a 750 FICO Score and a 20% down payment to buy.”

The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) revealed that Millennials and Baby Boomers are often competing for the same housing inventory, causing a challenge as these two groups are the largest generations by population.

Both groups are looking for affordable, convenient homes close to city centers and ‘what’s happening.’

Bottom Line

The experts agree that homeownership is still desirable across all demographic groups, with Millennials and Baby Boomers having a great impact on available supply. If your dreams include owning your own home, let’s get together and evaluate your ability to buy now!

Americans Believe Real Estate is Best Long-Term Investment

Americans Believe Real Estate is Best Long-Term Investment | MyKCM

According to Bankrate’s latest Financial Security Index Poll, Americans who have money to set aside for the next 10 years would rather invest in real estate than any other type of investment.

Bankrate asked Americans to answer the following question:

“Which would be the best way to invest money you did not need for more than 10 years?”

Real Estate came in as the top choice with 25% of all respondents, while cash investments (such as savings accounts and CD’s) came in second with 23%. The chart below shows the full results:

Americans Believe Real Estate is Best Long-Term Investment | MyKCM

Sterling White, co-founder of Holdfolio, gave one reason as to why real estate may have ranked so high.

“Houses are tangible. You can physically see and feel the product. So you know where your money is going.”

July’s poll also found that for the “26th consecutive month, Americans’ sense of financial well-being improved when taking into account debt, savings, net worth, job security, and overall financial situation.”

Bottom Line

There are several reasons, both financial and non-financial, as to why homeownership makes sense. It is nice to see that Americans have returned to a belief in homeownership as the best investment.

House Hasn’t Sold Yet? Take Another Look at Your Price!

House Hasn't Sold Yet? Take Another Look at Your Price! | MyKCM

The residential housing market has been hot. Home sales have bounced back solidly and are now at their second highest pace since February 2007. Demand has remained strong throughout the summer as many real estate professionals are reporting bidding wars with listings actually selling above listing price. What about your house?

If your house hasn’t sold, it is probably because of the price.

If your home is on the market and you are not receiving any offers, look at your price. Pricing your home just 10% above market value dramatically cuts the number of prospective buyers that will even see your house. See chart below.

House Hasn't Sold Yet? Take Another Look at Your Price! | MyKCM

Bottom Line

The housing market is hot. If you are not seeing results you want, sit down with your agent and revisit the pricing conversation.

Home Sales Accelerate During The “Dog Days of Summer” [INFOGRAPHIC]

Home Sales Accelerate During The “Dog Days of Summer” [INFOGRAPHIC] |MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Existing home sales have accelerated to the highest pace since February 2007 at an annual pace of 5.57 million.
  • Inventory of homes for sale remains below the historically normal 6-month mark at a 4.6-month supply, down 5.8% year-over-year.
  • Median home sales prices rose to $247,700, 4.8% higher than a year ago and replaced the previous peak in May of $238,900.

A Homeowner’s Net Worth is 45x Greater Than a Renter’s!

A Homeowner’s Net Worth is 45x Greater Than a Renter’s! | MyKCM

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400).

In a Forbes article, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that in 2016 the net worth gap will widen even further to 45 times greater.

The graph below demonstrates the results of the last two Federal Reserve studies and Yun’s prediction:

A Homeowner’s Net Worth is 45x Greater Than a Renter’s! | MyKCM

Put Your Housing Cost to Work for You

Simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth. Every time you pay your rent, you are contributing to your landlord’s net worth.

The latest National Housing Pulse Survey from NAR reveals that 85% of consumers believe that purchasing a home is a good financial decision. Yun comments:

“Though there will always be discussion about whether to buy or rent, or whether the stock market offers a bigger return than real estate, the reality is that homeowners steadily build wealth. The simplest math shouldn’t be overlooked.”

Bottom Line

If you are interested in finding out if you could put your housing cost to work for you by purchasing a home, let’s get together to discuss your next steps.

Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Professional When Buying a Home!

Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Professional When Buying A Home! | MyKCM

Many people wonder whether they should hire a real estate professional to assist them in buying their dream home or if they should first try to go it on their own. In today’s market: you need an experienced professional!

You Need an Expert Guide if You Are Traveling a Dangerous Path

The field of real estate is loaded with land mines. You need a true expert to guide you through the dangerous pitfalls that currently exist. Finding a home that is priced appropriately and ready for you to move in to can be tricky. An agent listens to your wants and needs, and can sift through the homes that do not fit within the parameters of your “dream home.”

A great agent will also have relationships with mortgage professionals and other experts that you will need in securing your dream home. 

You Need a Skilled Negotiator

In today’s market, hiring a talented negotiator could save you thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. Each step of the way – from the original offer, to the possible renegotiation of that offer after a home inspection, to the possible cancellation of the deal based on a troubled appraisal – you need someone who can keep the deal together until it closes.

Realize that when an agent is negotiating their commission with you, they are negotiating their own salary; the salary that keeps a roof over their family’s head; the salary that puts food on their family’s table. If they are quick to take less when negotiating for themselves and their families, what makes you think they will not act the same way when negotiating for you and your family?

If they were Clark Kent when negotiating with you, they will not turn into Superman when negotiating with the buyer or seller in your deal. 

Bottom Line

Famous sayings become famous because they are true. You get what you pay for. Just like a good accountant or a good attorney, a good agent will save you money…not cost you money.

What Does Home Mean to You?

What Does Home Mean to You? | MyKCM

No matter what shape or size your living space is, the concept and feeling of home can mean different things to different people. Whether it’s a certain scent or a favorite chair, the emotional reasons why we choose to buy our own home are, more often than not, the more powerful or compelling ones.

Every year, The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University conducts a survey to find driving factors behind why Americans decide to buy a home.

The top 4 reasons to own a home cited by participants of the survey were not financial. 

1. It means having a good place to raise children & provide them with a good education

From the best neighborhoods to the best school districts, even those without children at the time of purchase may have this in the back of their mind as a major reason for choosing the location of the home that they purchase.

2. You have a physical structure where you & your family feel safe

It is no surprise that having a place to call home with the means for comfort and security is the number two reason.

3. It allows you to have more space for your family

Whether your family is expanding, or an older family member is moving in, having a home that fits your needs is a close third on the list. 

4. It gives you control over what you do with your living space, like renovations and updates

Looking to actually try one of those complicated wall treatments that you saw on Pinterest? Tired of paying an additional pet deposit for your apartment building, or do you want to finally adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve seen online 100 times? Who’s to say that you can’t in your own home?

The 5th reason on the list, is the #1 financial reason to buy a home as seen by respondents:

5. Owning a home is a good way to build up wealth that can be passed along to my family

Either way you are paying a mortgage. Why not lock in your housing expense now with an investment that will build equity that you can borrow against in the future?

Bottom Line

Whether you are a first time homebuyer or a move-up buyer who wants to start a new chapter in your life, now is a great time to reflect on the intangible factors that make a house a home.

New Home Sales Up 25.4% Last Month!

New Home Sales Up 25.4% Last Month! | MyKCM

According to the latest Census Bureau Report, sales of newly constructed homes soared to new heights in June to a seasonally adjusted rate of 592,000. This marks the highest annual rate in 8 years.

Trulia’s Chief Economist, Ralph McLaughlin had this to say:

“New home sales jumped sharply in June, and marked the best month since February 2008. This is a continued sign that demand for homes remains solid and aptly reflects increasing homebuilder confidence.” 

Sales have been climbing consistently over the last six months as shown in the graph below.

New Home Sales Up 25.4% Last Month! | MyKCM

One of the many reasons why many homeowners turn to the new homes market to find their dream home is due to the lack of existing homes for sale. As we have mentioned before, buyer demand is outpacing the supply of homes for sale at record rates.

Bottom Line

If you are a homeowner who is debating listing your home for sale this year, now may be the time. Let’s get together to help you take advantage of the buyers that are ready, willing and able to buy in your area.