With Rates & Prices on the Rise, Do You Know the True Cost of Waiting?

Young Couple Moving HouseThere is a great opportunity that exists now for Millennials who are willing and able to purchase a home NOW… Here are a couple other ways to look at the cost of waiting.

Let’s say you’re 30 and your dream house costs $250,000 today, at 4.41% your monthly Mortgage Payment with Interest would be $1,253.38.

But you’re busy, you like your apartment, moving is such a hassle…You decide to wait till the end of next year to buy and all of a sudden, you’re 31, that same house is $270,000, at 5.7%. Your new payment per month is $1,567.08.

The difference in payment is $313.70 PER MONTH!

That’s like taking a $10 bill and tossing it out the window EVERY DAY!

Or you could look at it this way:

  • That’s your morning coffee everyday on the way to work (Average $2) with $12 left for lunch!
  • There goes Friday Sushi Night! ($80 x 4)
  • Stressed Out? How about 3 deep tissue massages with tip!
  • Need a new car? You could get a brand new $22,000 car for $313.00 per month.

Let’s look at that number annually! Over the course of your new mortgage at 5.7%, your annual additional cost would be $3,764.40!

Had your eye on a vacation in the Caribbean? How about a 2-week trip through Europe? Or maybe your new house could really use a deck for entertaining.  We could come up with 100’s of ways to spend $3,764, and we’re sure you could too!

Over the course of your 30 year loan, now at age 61, hopefully you are ready to retire soon, you would have spent an additional $112,932, all because when you were 30 you thought moving in 2014 was such a hassle or loved your apartment too much to leave yet.

Or maybe there wasn’t an agent out there who educated you on the true cost of waiting a year. Maybe they thought you wouldn’t be ready, but if they showed you that you could save $112,932, you’d at least listen to what they had to say.

They say hindsight is 20/20, we’d like to think that 30 years from now when you are 60, looking back, you would say to buy now…

Either Way, You’re Still Paying a Mortgage

wealthy houseThere 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 our parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage – either your mortgage or your landlord’s.

As a recent paper from 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.”

Also, if you purchase with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, your ‘housing expense’ is locked in over the thirty years for the most part. If you rent, the one guarantee you will have is that your rent will increase over that same thirty year time period.

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 prices and interest rates are still at bargain prices.

Real Estate: We are NOT the Only Ones Saying You Should Buy

We have never hid our belief in homeownership. That does not mean we think EVERYONE should run out and buy a house. However, if a person or family is ready, willing and able to purchase a home, we believe that owning is much better than renting. And we believe that now is a great time to buy.

We are not the only ones that think owning has massive benefits or that now is a sensational time to plunge into owning your own home. Here are a few others:

Benefits of Owning

Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord…Having to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings.”

The Federal Reserve

“Renters have much lower median and mean net worth than homeowners in any survey year.”

Benefits of Buying Now

Trulia

“Buying costs less than renting in all 100 large U.S. metros… Now, at a 30-year fixed rate of 4.5%, buying is 38% cheaper than renting nationally.”

Freddie Mac

“One thing seems certain: we are not likely to see average 30-year fixed mortgage rates return to the historic lows experienced in 2012…Yes, rates are higher than they were a year ago – and certainly higher than two years ago. But if you look at the averages over the last four decades, today’s rates remain historically low.”

Thinking of Buying a Vacation/ Retirement Home? Why Wait?

Extended family walking on beachThe sales of vacation homes skyrocketed last year. A recent study also revealed that 25% of those surveyed said they’d likely buy a second home, such as a vacation or beach house, to use during retirement. For many Baby Boomers, the idea of finally purchasing that vacation home (that they may eventually use in retirement) makes more and more sense as the economy improves and the housing market recovers.

If your family is thinking about purchasing that second home, now may be the perfect time. Prices are still great. If you decide to lease the property until you’re ready to occupy it full time, the rental market in most areas is very strong. And you can still get a great mortgage interest rate.

But current mortgage rates won’t last forever…

According to FreddieMac, the interest rate for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage at the beginning of April was 4.4%. However, FreddieMac predicts that mortgage rates will steadily climb over the next six quarters.

Let’s assume you want to purchase a home for $500,000 with a 20% down payment ($100,000). That would leave you with a $400,000 mortgage. What happens if you wait to buy this dream house?

Prices are projected to increase over the next year and a half. However, for this example, let’s assume prices remain the same. Your mortgage payment will still increase as mortgage rates climb to more historically normal levels.

This table shows how a principal and interest payment is impacted by a rise in interest rates:

Cost of Waiting $400K

Vacation Home Property Sales Surge

The American desire to own a second home as a vacation home is alive and well!

The National Association of Realtors analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data shows there are approximately 8 million vacation homes in the U.S. Their 2014 Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey shows vacation home sales improved substantially in 2013.

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said favorable conditions are driving second-home sales:

“Growth in the equity markets has greatly benefited high net-worth households, thereby providing the wherewithal and confidence to purchase recreational property,” he said. “However, vacation-home sales are still about one-third below the peak activity seen in 2006.”

Here are the key findings from the report:

Raw Numbers

  • Vacation-Home sales rose 29.7 percent to 717,000 from 553,000 in 2012
  • Sales accounted for 13% of all transactions last year, up from 11% in 2012
  • The median price was $168,700, compared with $150,000 in 2012, reflecting a greater number of more expensive recreational property sales in 2013
  • 42% of vacation homes purchased in 2013 were distressed homes (in foreclosure or short sale)

Buyer Profile

  • The typical vacation-home buyer was 43 years old
  • The median household income was $85,600
  • Buyers plan to own their recreational property for a median of 6 years
  • 33% said they were likely to purchase another vacation home within two years
  • 82% of all second-home buyers said it was a good time to buy (compared with 67% of primary residence buyers)

Reasons for Purchasing

Lifestyle factors remain the primary motivation for vacation-home buyers:

  • 87% want to use the property for vacations or as a family retreat
  • 31% plan to use it as a primary residence in the future
  • 28% wanted to diversify their investments or saw a good investment opportunity
  • 23% plan to rent to others

Location

  • 41% of vacation homes purchased last year were in the South
  • 28% in the West
  • 18% in the Northeast
  • 14% in the Midwest

The vacation homebuyer purchased a property that was a median distance of 180 miles from their primary residence (down from 435 in 2012)

  • 46% were within 100 miles
  • 34% were more than 500 miles

Financing

  • 38% of vacation-home buyers paid cash in 2013
  • The median down payment was 30%, up from 27% in 2012

Homeownership’s Impact on Net Worth

4.9 VisualOver the last six years, homeownership has lost some of its allure as a financial investment. As homeowners suffered through the housing bust, more and more began to question whether owning a home was truly a good way to build wealth. A study by the Federal Reserve formally answered this question.

Some of the findings revealed in their report:

  • The average American family has a net worth of $77,300
  • Of that net worth, 61.4% ($47,500) of it is in home equity
  • A homeowner’s net worth is over thirty times greater than that of a renter
  • The average homeowner has a net worth of $174,500 while the average net worth of a renter is $5,100

Bottom Line

The Fed study found that homeownership is still a great way for a family to build wealth in America.

3 Reasons the Housing Market Should Thrive in 2014

threeRecently, HousingWire asked David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide, for his opinion on the near-term future of housing. Below are what Mr. Berson believes to be the three things you need to know about housing in 2014. We have included a quote from the article and a small comment from Keeping Current Matters (KCM) for all three points.

Number 1: 2014 should prove to be the strongest year for housing activity since before the Great Recession

“Most economists expect an improved job market in 2014, with employment growth accelerating and the unemployment rate continuing to decline. That jobless rate drop will reflect more of a pickup in employment than further declines in the labor force participation rate. This will be the key factor improving housing demand this year, even if mortgage rates rise and affordability declines. While the housing market tends to do especially well when the job market improves and mortgage rates decline simultaneously, that combination of events occurs only rarely…People buy homes when their job and income prospects improve – even if it’s more expensive to do so – rather than buy when it is inexpensive to do so but they’re worried about keeping their jobs.”

KCM Comment:

We agree that the job market will continue to improve and that rising interest rates will not be a detriment to the market in 2014. As Doug Duncan, SVP and chief economist at Fannie Mae, recently revealed:

“Consumers have taken the interest rate rise in stride. Expectations for continued improvement in housing persist, and sentiment toward the current buying and selling environment is back on track.”

Number 2: Demographics should start to favor housing activity

“If the economy expands at a faster pace this year, bringing a more rapid rate of job creation, that should translate into more households, raising housing demand. We won’t see all three million missing households return to the housing market at once. (That wouldn’t be a good thing for the housing market anyway, since that would be on top of the 1.2 million households that normally would develop this year; such a surge would swamp the existing housing supply). Beginning in 2014, the pace of household formations should accelerate to an above-trend pace for several years, pushing up housing demand.”

KCM Comment:

The Urban Land Institute recently released a report, Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2014, projecting that 4.48 million new households will be formed over the next three years. Millennials will make up a large portion of these new households. With the economy improving, we believe they will finally be moving out of their parents’ homes and, after they compare renting versus buying, many will choose homeownership.

Number 3: Mortgage availability shouldn’t worsen and may improve

“The rise in mortgage rates already has reduced mortgage origination volumes as refinance activity declines. If mortgage rates rise further this year, as expected, then refinance activity will fall still more. In response, mortgage lenders probably will ease lending standards to the extent possible under the QM rules to boost lending activity by increasing purchase originations. As a result, the increase in new households expected to be created this year, spurred by a stronger job market, should find that qualifying for a mortgage loan will be somewhat easier in 2014 than in prior years.”

KCM Comment:

We also believe that, as the refinancing market begins to dry up, mortgage entities will be more aggressive in the purchase money market (mortgages necessary to purchase a home). There even seems to be recent evidence that lending standards are actually loosening.

Harvard: 5 Financial Reasons to Buy a Home

Eric Belsky is Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University. He also currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Housing Research and Housing Policy Debate. This year he released a new paper on homeownership – The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America. In his paper, Belsky reveals five financial reasons 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 many social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially.