- The average down payment for first-time homebuyers is only 6%!
- Despite mortgage interest rates being over 4%, rates are still below historic numbers.
- 88% of property managers raised their rents in the last 12 months!
Back in 2005, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan described the dramatic increases in residential real estate values as a “froth in housing markets.” Greenspan went on to say:
“The increase in the prevalence of interest-only loans and the introduction of more-exotic forms of adjustable-rate mortgages are developments of particular concern…some households may be employing these instruments to purchase homes that would otherwise be unaffordable, and consequently their use could be adding to pressures in the housing market.”
Greenspan was warning that the loosening of lending standards could lead to disaster. And it did.
With home prices again appreciating at percentages well above historic norms, many are wondering whether the market is again becoming “frothy.” Mortgage standards are much stricter now, however, than they were in 2005.
The Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center issues a monthly index which measures the percentage of home purchase loans that are likely to default. A lower score indicates that lenders are unwilling to tolerate defaults and are imposing tighter lending standards. A higher score indicates that lenders are willing to tolerate defaults and are taking more risks.
Their July Housing Credit Availability Index revealed credit availability rose to 5.9%. For context, they went on to explain:
“Significant space remains to safely expand the credit box. If the current default risk was doubled across all channels, risk would still be well within the pre-crisis standard of 12.5 percent from 2001 to 2003 for the whole mortgage market.”
Here is a graph depicting the Urban Institute’s findings:
Though it may be slightly easier to get a mortgage today than it was a year ago, lending standards are nowhere near where they were during the build-up to the housing bubble.
The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting, with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage, in 98 of the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.
In the six years that Trulia has conducted this study, this is the first time that it was cheaper to rent than buy in any of the metropolitan areas.
It’s no surprise, however, that those two metros are San Jose and San Francisco, CA, where median home prices have jumped to over $1 million dollars this year. Home values in San Jose have risen 29% in the last year, while rents have remained relatively unchanged.
For the 98 metros where homeownership wins out, 97 of them show a double-digit advantage when buying. The range is an average of 2.0% less expensive in Honolulu (HI), all the way up to 48.9% in Detroit (MI), and 26.3% nationwide!
Below is a map of the 100 metros that were studied. The darker the blue dot on the metro, the cheaper it is to buy there.
In order to calculate the true cost of renting vs. buying, Trulia includes all assumed renting costs, including one-time costs (like security deposits), and compares them to the monthly costs of owning a home (insurance, mortgage payments, taxes, and maintenance) including one-time costs (down payments, closing costs, sale proceeds). They also assume that households stay in their home for seven years, put down a 20% down payment, and take out a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. The full methodology is included with the study results here.
Below is a chart created with the data from the last six years of the study, showing the impact of the median home price, rental price, and 30-year fixed rate interest rate used to calculate the ‘cheaper to buy’ metric.
In 2016, when buying was 41.3% less expensive than renting, the average mortgage rate was the driving force behind the difference. Rates this year are the highest they have been in six years which has narrowed the gap, all while home price appreciation has also been driven up by a lack of homes for sale.
Cheryl Young, Trulia’s Chief Economist, had this to say,
“One point deserves emphasizing: The ultra-costly San Francisco Bay Area is not a harbinger for the nation as a whole. While renting may outweigh buying in San Jose and San Francisco, it is unlikely that renting will tip the scales nationally anytime soon.”
Homeownership provides many benefits beyond the financial ones. If you are one of the many renters out there who would like to evaluate your ability to buy this year, let’s get together to find your dream home.
Whether you are a rookie homebuyer or have gone through the process many times, having a local real estate expert who is well versed in the neighborhood you are looking to move to, as well as the trends of that area, should be your goal while home shopping.
One great example of an agent who is in your corner and is always looking out for your best interests is one of the main characters on ABC’s Modern Family, Phil Dunphy.
For those who aren’t familiar with the character, Phil is a REALTOR® with a huge heart who always strives to do his best for his family and his clients.
In one episode, he even shared an oath that he created and holds himself accountable to:
“On my honor, I promise to aid in man’s quest for shelter, to recognize I’m not just in the business of houses — I’m in the business of dreams in the shape of houses. To disclose all illegal additions, shoddy construction, murders, and ghosts. And to put my clients’ needs before my own.”
While this might seem silly, as it was definitely written with humor in mind, the themes of helping someone achieve the American Dream and putting a client’s needs above his own are not to be taken lightly.
When you make the decision to enter the housing market, as either a buyer or a seller, make sure you look for an agent who exemplifies these values and will help you through every step of the process.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released the results of their latest Existing Home Sales Report which revealed that home sales declined 0.6% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.38 million in June from 5.41 million in May, and are 2.2% below a year ago. Some may look at these numbers and think that now is a bad time to sell their house, but in fact, the opposite is true.
The national slowdown in sales is directly tied to a lack of inventory available for the buyers who are out in the market looking for their dream homes! In fact, the inventory of homes for sale had fallen year-over-year for 36 consecutive months before posting a modest 0.5% gain last month and has had an upward impact on home prices.
NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun had this to say,
“It’s important to note that despite the modest year-over-year rise in inventory, the current level is far from what’s needed to satisfy demand levels. Furthermore, it remains to be seen if this modest increase will stick, given the fact that the robust economy is bringing more interested buyers into the market, and new home construction is failing to keep up.”
The few houses that are on the market are selling fast! According to NAR’s Realtors Confidence Index, properties were typically on the market for 26 days.
If you are one of the many homeowners who is debating listing your house for sale this year, the time is now! Let’s get together to discuss the specifics of our market!