The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released their July edition of theHousing Affordability Index. The index measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national level based on the most recent price and income data.
NAR looks at the monthly mortgage payment (principal & interest) which is determined by the median sales price and mortgage interest rate at the time. With that information, NAR calculates the income necessary for a family to qualify for that mortgage amount (based on a 25% qualifying ratio for monthly housing expense to gross monthly income and a 20% down payment).
Here is a graph of the income needed to buy a median priced home in the country over the last several years:
And the income requirement has accelerated even more dramatically this year as prices have risen:
Some buyers may be waiting to save up a larger down payment. Others may be waiting for a promotion and more money. Just realize that, while you are waiting, the requirements are also changing.
There are some people that have not purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage – either your mortgage or your landlord’s.
As The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:
“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return.
That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”
Christina Boyle, a Senior Vice President, Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:
“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”
As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity.
The graph below shows the widening gap in net worth between a homeowner and a renter:
Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, owning might make more sense than renting since home values and interest rates are projected to climb.
The interest rate you pay on your home mortgage has a direct impact on your monthly payment. The higher the rate the greater the payment will be. That is why it is important to look at where rates are headed when deciding to buy now or wait until next year.
Depending on the amount of the loan that you secure, a half of a percent (.5%) increase in interest rate can increase your monthly mortgage payment significantly.
Dr. Frank Nothaft, the SVP & Chief Economist for CoreLogic, had this to say in their latest MarketPulse:
“If you are thinking of buying a home and have the financial means to do so, this could be a good time to take a look at the neighborhoods you are interested in. We expect home prices in our national index to be up about 4.3% in the next 12 months, and mortgage rates are also likely to increase over the next year.”
If both the predictions of home price and interest rate increases become reality, families would wind up paying considerably more for their next home.
Even a small increase in interest rate can impact your family’s wealth. Meet with a local real estate professional to evaluate your ability to purchase your dream home.
Spring is in full force; the summer months are right around the corner. If you are debating moving up to your dream home, here are four great reasons to consider buying today instead of waiting.
1.) Buyer Demand is High & Inventory Is Low
Recent numbers show that buyer demand is at the highest peak experienced in years, and inventory for sale is at a 4.6 months supply, which is still markedly lower than the 6.0 months needed for a historically normal market. The National Association of Realtors, Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun put it this way,“Demand in many markets is far exceeding supply, and properties in March sold at a faster rate than any month since last summer.” Listing your home today can greatly increase exposure to buyers who are out in force and ready to act.
2.) Prices Will Continue to Rise
The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects appreciation in home values over the next five years to be between 11.7% (most pessimistic) and 27.5% (most optimistic). The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting for your current home’s value to increase before selling could price you out of your new home if you aren’t careful.
3.) Mortgage Interest Rates Are Still Near Record Lows
As we reported last week, interest rates have remained below 4% for some time now, and are substantially lower than the rate previous generations paid when getting a mortgage. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will rise over the next 12 months. An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Even an increase of half a percentage point can put a dent in your family’s net worth. Whether you are moving up or buying your first home, your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your home.
4.) It’s Time to Move On with Your Life
The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But, what if they weren’t? Would you wait? Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Have you always wanted to live in a certain neighborhood? Would a climate change be just what the doctor ordered? Would you like to be closer to family?
If the right thing for you and your family is to move up to your dream home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.