Billionaire money manager John Paulson was interviewed at the Delivering Alpha Conference presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor. During his session he boldly stated:
“I still think, from an individual perspective, the best deal investment you can make is to buy a primary residence that you’re the owner-occupier of.”
Who is John Paulson?
Paulson is the person who, back in 2005 & 2006, made a fortune betting that the subprime mortgage mess would cause the real estate market to collapse. He understands how the housing market works and knows when to buy and when to sell. What do others think of Paulson?
According to Forbes, John Paulson is:
“A multibillionaire hedge fund operator and the investment genius.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Paulson is:
“A hedge fund tycoon who made his name, and a fortune, betting against subprime mortgages when no one else even knew what they were.”
Why does he believe homeownership is such a great investment?
Paulson breaks down the math of homeownership as an investment:
“Today financing costs are extraordinarily low.”
The latest numbers from Freddie Mac show us that you can still get a 30-year mortgage for under 4%.
“And if you put down, let’s say, 10 percent and the house is up 5 percent,” as many experts predict, “then you would be up 50 percent on your investment.”
How many are seeing a 50% return on a cash investment right now?
Paulson goes on to compare the long term financial benefits of owning verses renting:
“And you’ve locked in the cost over the next 30 years. And today the cost of owning is somewhat less than the cost of renting. And if you rent, the rent goes up every year. But if you buy a 30-year mortgage, the cost is fixed.”
Whenever a billionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This billionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.
There are many benefits to homeownership, one of top ones, is being able to protect yourself from rising rents and lock in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) just released their findings of a study in which they studied “income growth, housing costs and changes in the share of renter and owner-occupied households over the past five years in metropolitan statistical areas throughout the US.”
Don’t Become Trapped
The study revealed that over the last five years, a typical rent rose 15%, while the income of renters grew by only 11%. If you are currently renting, this disparity in growth could get you caught up in a cycle where increasing rents continue to make it impossible for you to save for a necessary down payment.
The top 5 markets where renters have seen the highest increase in rents since 2009 are:
- New York, NY (50.7%)
- Seattle, WA (32.4%)
- San Jose, CA (25.6%)
- Denver, CO (24.1%)
- St. Louis, MO (22.3%)
Homebuyers, who were able to purchase their home over the same five-year period and lock in their housing costs, were able to grow their net worth as home values have increased and their mortgage balances have gone down.
Know Your Options
Perhaps you have already saved enough to buy your first home. HousingWire reported that analysts at Nomura believe:
“It’s not that Millennials and other potential homebuyers aren’t qualified in terms of their credit scores or in how much they have saved for their down payment.
It’s that they think they’re not qualified or they think that they don’t have a big enough down payment.” (emphasis added)
According to Freddie Mac:
“Depending on their credit history and other factors, many borrowers can expect to make a down payment of about 5 to 10%. And new 3% down financing options for qualified borrowers could mean a down payment as little as $6,000 for a $200,000 home.”
Don’t get caught in the trap so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Have a professional help you determine if you are eligible to get a mortgage.
The 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate is currently still below 4%. Many buyers may be on the fence as to whether to act now and purchase a new home, or wait until next year, believing they still have time to lock in a low rate.
If you look at what the experts are predicting over the course of the next 12 months, it may make the decision for you.
Predictions for 2016 2Q:
- 4.2% – Fannie Mae
- 4.7% – Freddie Mac
- 4.9% – Mortgage Bankers Association
- 5.3% – National Association of Realtors
Even an increase of half a percentage point can put a dent in your family’s net worth.
Let’s look at it this way…
The monthly payment (principal & interest only) on a $250,000 home today, with the current 3.86% interest rate would be $1,173.
If we take that same home a year later, the Home Price Expectation Survey projects that prices will rise about 4.4% making that home cost $11,000 more at $261,000.
If we take Freddie Mac’s rate projection of 4.7%, the monthly mortgage payment climbs to $1,354.
Some buyers might not think that an extra $181 a month is that bad. But over the course of 30-year mortgage you have spent an additional $65,160 by waiting a year.
A recent Demand Institute report revealed “nearly half of all American households plan to move at some point in the future.”
Seventy-five percent of those surveyed in the report cited one or more ‘location-related reasons’ for their eagerness to move. Here are the top 5 reasons:
- Safer Neighborhood – 30%
- Closer to Family – 27%
- Change of Climate – 26%
- Closer to Work – 25%
- For a New Job – 23%
While the majority of Americans (74%) will move within their home state, for the 26% planning to call a new state home, it is important to know that prices in each state are appreciating at different rates and waiting to buy or sell your home could cost you more in the long run.
The map below was created using the FHFA’s latest Home Price Index and shows year-over-year price gains in each state.
If your plan for 2015 includes relocating to a new state, meet with a local real estate professional in that area who can help you find the best fit for you and your family’s needs.
After the housing market bust we experienced across the country in 2008, many experts have been quick to warn that a new bubble may be forming in some areas.
One particular example of this is a recent article pointing toward the California Bay Area’s price gains over the last 18 months.
The quickest and easiest way to show how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go in regards to the ‘Peak’ is to share CoreLogic’s Price & Time Since Peak figures, used to create the map below.
Even with the high performance of prices in the Bay Area, the state of California as a whole is still -14.4% below their Peak, experienced in May of 2006.
The biggest challenge facing the housing market’s recovery right now is the lack of inventory available for sale. Prices are determined by supply and demand. Right now buyer demand is out-pacing seller supply, across many price ranges, driving prices up.
Traditionally the Spring months have been the most popular dates sellers choose to list their homes. With additional inventory coming to market soon, meet with a professional in your local market to evaluate your best course of action.
Now that the market has showed signs of recovery, some sellers may be tempted to try and sell their home on their own (FSBO) without using the services of a real estate professional.
Real estate agents are trained and experienced in negotiation. In most cases, the seller is not. The seller must realize their ability to negotiate will determine whether they can get the best deal for themselves and their family.
Here is a list of some of the people with whom the seller must be prepared to negotiate if they decide to FSBO:
- The buyer who wants the best deal possible
- The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
- The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
- The home inspection companies which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house.
- The termite company if there are challenges
- The buyer’s lender if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation
- The appraiser if there is a question of value
- The title company if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or other permits
- The town or municipality if you need to get the COs permits mentioned above
- The buyer’s buyer in case there are challenges on the house your buyer is selling.
- Your bank in the case of a short sale
The percentage of sellers who have hired a real estate agent to sell their home has increased steadily over the last 20 years. Meet with a professional in your local market to see the difference they can make in easing the process.