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

A Home’s Cost vs. Price Explained

HomePercentageWe have often talked about the difference between COST and PRICE. As a seller, you will be most concerned about ‘short term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As either a first time or repeat buyer, you must not be concerned about price but instead about the ‘long term cost’ of the home. Let us explain.

Recently, we reported that a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists projected that home values would appreciate by approximately 8% from now to the end of 2015.

Additionally, Freddie Mac’s most recent Economic Commentary & Projections Table predicts that the 30 year fixed mortgage rate will be 5.7% by the end of next year.

What Does This Mean to a Buyer?

Here is a simple demonstration of what impact these projected changes would have on the mortgage payment of a home selling for approximately $250,000 today:

Cost-of-Waiting0407

Freddie Mac: Doubtful Rates Will Return to Recent Lows

blue interest rates“One thing seems certain: we aren’t likely to see average 30-year fixed mortgage rates return to the historic lows experienced in 2012.”

– Freddie Mac,  March 24, 2014

There are those that hope that 30-year mortgage interest rates will head back under 4%. Obviously, for any prospective home purchaser that would be great news. However, there is probably a greater chance that interest rates will return to the greater than 6% rate of the last decade before they would return to the less than 3.5% rate of 2012.

Freddie Mac, in one of four original posts on their new blog, explained that current rates are still extremely low compared to historic averages:

“The all-time record low – since Freddie Mac began tracking mortgage rates in 1971 – was 3.31% in November 2012. Conversely, the all-time record high occurred in October of 1981, hitting 18.63%. That’s more than four times higher than today’s average 30-year fixed rate of 4.32% as of March 20…rates hovering around 4.5% may be high relative to last year, but something to celebrate compared to almost any year since 1971.”

Rates over decades

If you are thinking of buying a home, waiting for a dramatic decrease in mortgage rates might not make sense.

Buyers: Window of Opportunity Still Open

opportunity windowThe Fed recently announced they would continue their current pace of purchasing bonds until the economy was stronger. This bond purchasing program is the reason that mortgage interest rates are at historic lows. Rates began to increase over the last several months just on the anticipation that the Fed would announce that they would be reducing the level of bond purchases last month. When that didn’t happen, rates actually decreased (4.50 to 4.37).

That was great news for any buyer in the process of purchasing a home. However, this window of opportunity is expected to close in the very near future as most experts expect the Fed to taper the bond purchasers in December. Even Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Fed, suggested that the Fed could still scale back the stimulus this year. He stated:

“If the data confirms our basic outlook, then we could move later this year.”

Where will mortgage rates head in 2014?

The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors have each projected that the 30 year fixed rate mortgage will have interest rates in excess of 5% by this time next year. The average of their four projections is 5.3%. The table below shows the impact this will have on the monthly principal and interest payment on a $250,000 mortgage:

Payment A buyer should take advantage of the current window of opportunity before it is too late.