Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.
Are you an empty-nester? Do you want to retire where you are, or does a vacation destination sound more your style? Are you close to retirement and not ready to move yet, but living in a home that is too big in size and maintenance needs?
How can you line up your current needs with your goals and dreams for the future? The answer for many might be the equity you have in your house.
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:
“What is the best way to invest money you wouldn’t need for 10 years or more?”
Real Estate came in as the top choice with 28% of all respondents (3% higher than last year), while cash investments – such as savings accounts and CD’s – came in second with 23% (the same as last year). The chart below shows the full results:
The article points out several reasons for these results:
“After bottoming out at the end of 2011 following the worst housing collapse in generations, home prices have gone gangbusters recently, climbing back above their record pre-crisis levels. Prices jumped 6.6 percent during the 12 months that ended in May, according to CoreLogic.
Toss in persistently low interest rates, tax goodies that come with owning a mortgage, and the psychological payoff from planting your roots, and maybe it’s no wonder real estate remains popular.”
The article also revealed that:
“Bankrate’s Financial Security Index — based on survey questions about how people feel about their debt, savings, net worth, job security and overall financial situation — has hit its third-highest level since the poll’s inception in December 2010.”
We have often written about the financial and non-financial reasons homeownership makes sense. It is nice to see that Americans still believe in homeownership as the best investment.
Forbes.com recently released the results of their new American Dream Index, in which they measure “the prosperity of the middle class, and…examine which states best support the American Dream.”
The monthly index measures several different economic factors, including goods-producing employment, personal and commercial bankruptcies, building permits, startup activity, unemployment insurance claims, labor force participation, and layoffs.
The national index score was rounded out to 100 in January and saw a modest jump to 100.5 in February.
Alaska represented the lowest score on the index at 80.7, due mostly to the recent collapse in oil prices. Nevada came in with the highest score at 108.8, boosted by big gains in goods-producing jobs and new construction activity. The full results can be seen in the map below.
Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Badenhausen explained why many states saw a boost in the index last month:
“[B]usinesses are hiring in part in anticipation of tax cuts and less regulation… Many areas of the country have experienced strong upticks in employment and construction, as well as declines in unemployment claims since the start of the year.”
The American Dream, for many, includes being able to own a home of his or her own. With the economy improving in many areas of the country, that dream can finally become a reality.
According to the Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index, the U.S. housing market has continued to move deeper into buy territory, supporting the belief that housing markets across the country remain a sound investment.
The BH&J Index is a quarterly report that attempts to answer the question:
In today’s housing market, is it better to rent or buy a home?
The index examines the entire US housing market and then isolates 23 major cities for comparison. The researchers “measure the relationship between purchasing property and building wealth through a buildup in equity versus renting a comparable property and investing in a portfolio of stocks and bonds.”
While most of the metropolitan markets examined moved further into buy territory (15 of the 23), markets like Dallas, Denver, and Houston are currently deep into rent territory. In these three markets, it is estimated that renting will top homeownership 7 out of 10 times.
Due to a lack of inventory, the home prices in the Dallas, Denver, and Houston, areas have increased by 13%, 11.4%, and 7.3% respectively. Home prices in these areas will begin to return to more normal levels once residents realize that renting is not the best option, therefore bringing home affordability back as well.
The majority of the country is strongly in buy territory. Buying a home makes sense socially and financially, as rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year. Protect yourself from rising rents by locking in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.
To Find Out More About the Study: The BH&J Index and other FAU real estate activities are sponsored by Investments Limited of Boca Raton. The BH&J Index is published quarterly and is available online at http://business.fau.edu/buyvsrent.
- ‘Millennials’ are defined as 18-36 year olds according to the US Census Bureau.
- According to NAR’s latest Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the median age of all first-time home buyers is 31 years old.
- More and more ‘Old Millennials’ (25-36 year olds) are realizing that homeownership is within their reach now!
The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled ‘Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study confirmed a long-standing belief of most Americans:
“Owning a home embodies the promise of individual autonomy and is the aspiration of most American households. Homeownership allows households to accumulate wealth and social status, and is the basis for a number of positive social, economic, family and civic outcomes.”
Today, we want to cover the section of the report that quoted several studies concentrating on the impact homeownership has on educational achievement. Here are some of the major findings on this issue revealed in the report:
- The decision to stay in school by teenage students is higher for those raised by home-owning parents compared to those in renter households.
- Parental homeownership in low-income neighborhoods has a positive impact on high school graduation.
- Though homeownership raises educational outcomes for children, neighborhood stability may have further enhanced the positive outcome.
- Children of homeowners tend to have higher levels of achievement in math and reading and fewer behavioral problems.
- Educational opportunities are more prevalent in neighborhoods with high rates of homeownership and community involvement.
- The average child of homeowners is significantly more likely to achieve a higher level of education and, thereby, a higher level of earnings.
People often talk about the financial benefits of homeownership. As we can see, there are also social benefits of owning your own home.
*The next two Thursdays, we will report the study’s findings on the impact homeownership has on civic participation and a family’s health. Source: KCM
The most recent Housing Pulse Survey released by the National Association of Realtors revealed that the two major reasons Americans prefer owning their own home instead of renting are:
- They want the opportunity to build equity.
- They want a stable and safe environment.
In a recent article by The Mortgage Reports, they report that “buying and owning a home is the essence of ‘The American Dream.’ Each month, your housing payments go toward owning your home instead of renting it; building your personal wealth and assets instead of someone else’s.
History has shown that homeownership is a clear path to wealth-building, with homeowners boasting a net worth [that is] multiples higher than the net worth of renters.”
Does owning your home really create a more stable environment for your family?
A survey of property managers conducted by rent.com disclosed two reasons tenants should feel less stable with their housing situation:
- 68% of property managers predict that rental rates will continue to rise in the next year by an average of 8%.
- 53% of property managers said that they were more likely to bring in a new tenant at a higher rate than to negotiate and renew a lease with a current tenant they already know.
We can see from these survey results that renting will provide anything but a stable environment in the near future.
Homeowners enjoy a more stable environment, and at the same time are given the opportunity to build their family’s net worth.
In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search.
Even if you are in a market that is not as competitive, knowing your budget will give you the confidence of knowing if your dream home is within your reach.
Freddie Mac lays out the advantages of pre-approval in the My Home section of their website:
“It’s highly recommended that you work with your lender to get pre-approved before you begin house hunting. Pre-approval will tell you how much home you can afford and can help you move faster, and with greater confidence, in competitive markets.”
One of the many advantages of working with a local real estate professional is that many have relationships with lenders who will be able to help you with this process. Once you have selected a lender, you will need to fill out their loan application and provide them with important information regarding “your credit, debt, work history, down payment and residential history.”
Freddie Mac describes the 4 Cs that help determine the amount you will be qualified to borrow:
- Capacity: Your current and future ability to make your payments
- Capital or cash reserves: The money, savings and investments you have that can be sold quickly for cash
- Collateral: The home, or type of home, that you would like to purchase
- Credit: Your history of paying bills and other debts on time
Getting pre-approved is one of many steps that will show home sellers that you are serious about buying, and it often helps speed up the process once your offer has been accepted.
Many potential home buyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores needed to qualify for a mortgage today. If you are ready and willing to buy, you may be pleasantly surprised at your ability to do so as well.
It appears that Americans are regaining faith in the U.S. economy. The following indexes have each shown a dramatic jump in consumer confidence in their latest surveys:
- The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index
- National Federation of Independent Businesses’ Small Business Optimism Index
- CNBC All-America Economic Survey
- The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Survey
It usually means good news for the housing market when the country sees an optimistic future. People begin to dream again about the home their family has always wanted, and some make plans to finally make that dream come true.
If you are considering moving up to your dream home, it may be better to do it earlier in the year than later. The two components of your monthly mortgage payment (home prices and interest rates) are both projected to increase as the year moves forward, and interest rates may increase rather dramatically. Here are some predictions on where rates will be by the end of the year:
“We think that conforming 30-year fixed rates probably make it into the 4.625 percent to 4.75 percent range at some point during 2017 as a peak.”
Svenja Gudell, Zillow’s Chief Economist:
“I wouldn’t be surprised if the 30-year fixed mortgage rate hits 4.75 percent.”
Mark Fleming, the Chief Economist at First American:
“[I see] mortgage rates getting much closer to 5 percent at the end of next year.”
Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist:
“By this time next year, expect the 30-year fixed rate to likely be in the 4.5 percent to 5 percent range.”
If you are feeling good about your family’s economic future and are considering making a move to your dream home, doing it sooner rather than later makes the most sense.