The real estate market is on just about everyone’s mind these days. That’s because the unsustainable market of the past two years is behind us, and the difference is being felt. The question now is, just how financially strong are homeowners throughout the country? Mortgage debt grew beyond 10 trillion dollars over the past year, and many called that a troubling sign when it happened for the first time in history.
Recently Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, answered that question when she said:
“U.S. households own $41 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $12 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$29 trillion in equity. The national “LTV” in Q2 2022 was 29.5%, the lowest since 1983.”
“Homeowners had an average of $320,000 in inflation-adjusted equity in their homes in Q2 2022, an all-time high.”
What Is LTV?
The term LTV refers to loan to value ratio. For more context, here’s how the Mortgage Reportsdefines it:
“Your ‘loan to value ratio’ (LTV) compares the size of your mortgage loan to the value of the home. For example: If your home is worth $200,000, and you have a mortgage for $180,000, your LTV ratio is 90% — because the loan makes up 90% of the total price.
You can also think about LTV in terms of your down payment. If you put 20% down, that means you’re borrowing 80% of the home’s value. So your LTV ratio is 80%.”
Why Is This Important?
This is yet another reason we won’t see the housing market crash. Home equity allows homeowners to be in control. For example, if someone did need to sell their home, they likely have the equity they need to be able to sell it and still put money in their pocket. This was not the case back in 2008, when many owed more on their homes than they were worth.
Homeowners today have more financial strength than they have had since 1983. This is a combination of how homeowners have handled equity since the crash and rising home prices of the last two years. And this is yet another reason homeownership in any market makes sense.
There are more homes for sale today than at any time last year. So, if you tried to buy a home last year and were outbid or out priced, now may be your opportunity. The number of homes for sale in the U.S. has been growing over the past four months as rising mortgage rates help slow the frenzy the housing market saw during the pandemic.
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains why the shifting market creates a window of opportunity for you:
“This is an opportunity for people with a secure job to jump into the market, when other people are a little hesitant because of a possible recession. . . They’ll have fewer buyers to compete with.”
Two Reasons There Are More Homes for Sale
The first reason the market is seeing more homes available for sale is the number of sales happening each month has decreased. This slowdown has been caused by rising mortgage rates and rising home prices, leading many to postpone or put off buying. The graph below uses data from realtor.com to show how active real estate listings have risen over the past four months as a result.
The second reason the market is seeing more homes available for sale is because the number of people selling their homes is also rising. The graph below outlines new monthly listings coming onto the market compared to last year. As the graph shows, for the past three months, more people have put their homes on the market than the previous year.
The number of homes for sale across the country is growing, and that means more options for those thinking about buying a home. This is the opportunity many have been waiting for who were outbid or out priced last year.
While the Federal Reserve is working hard to bring down inflation, the latest data shows the inflation rate is still going up. You no doubt are feeling the pinch on your wallet at the gas pump or the grocery store, but that news may also leave you wondering: should I still buy a home right now?
Greg McBride, Chief Financial Analyst at Bankrate, explains how inflation is affecting the housing market:
“Inflation will have a strong influence on where mortgage rates go in the months ahead. . . . Whenever inflation finally starts to ease, so will mortgage rates — but even then, home prices are still subject to demand and very tight supply.”
No one knows how long it’ll take to bring down inflation, and that means the future trajectory of mortgage rates is also unclear. While that uncertainty isn’t comfortable, here’s why both inflation and mortgage rates are important for you and your homeownership plans.
When you buy a home, the mortgage rate and the price of the home matter. Higher mortgage rates impact how much you’ll pay for your monthly mortgage payment – and that directly affects how much you can comfortably afford. And while there’s no denying it’s more expensive to buy and finance a home this year than it was last year, it doesn’t mean you should pause your search. Here’s why.
Homeownership Is Historically a Great Hedge Against Inflation
In an inflationary economy, prices rise across the board. Historically, homeownership is a great hedge against those rising costs because you can lock in what’s likely your largest monthly payment (your mortgage) for the duration of your loan. That helps stabilize some of your monthly expenses. Not to mention, as home prices continue to appreciate, your home’s value will too. That’s why Mark Cussen, Financial Writer at Investopedia, says:
“Real estate is one of the time-honored inflation hedges. It’s a tangible asset, and those tend to hold their value when inflation reigns, unlike paper assets. More specifically, as prices rise, so do property values.”
Also, no one is calling for homes to lose value. As Selma Hepp, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, says:
“The current home price growth rate is unsustainable, and higher mortgage rates coupled with more inventory will lead to slower home price growth but unlikely declines in home prices.”
In a nutshell, your home search doesn’t have to go on hold because of rising inflation or higher mortgage rates. There’s more to consider when it comes to why you want to buy a home. In addition to shielding yourself from the impact of inflation and growing your wealth through ongoing price appreciation, there are other reasons to buy a home right now like addressing your changing needs and so much more.
Homeownership is one of the best decisions you can make in an inflationary economy. You get the benefit of the added security of owning your home in a time when experts are forecasting prices to continue to rise.
Are you thinking of buying a home this summer? If so, you have a great opportunity in front of you. Here are just a few reasons why this season may be the right time to make your purchase.
1. Homeownership Has Many Perks Homeownership is the American dream – not just because it has tangible financial benefits, but because it also has the power to change lives.
2. More Homes Are Expected To Enter the Market This Summer If you begin your search now and work with a trusted real estate advisor, you’ll be in a great spot to benefit from those additional choices when your dream home hits the market.
3. Home Prices Are Climbing
4. Rents Are Rising Too To escape rising rents, consider purchasing a home so you can lock in your monthly mortgage payment.
If you’ve been thinking about buying a home, you likely have one question on the top of your mind: should I buy right now, or should I wait? While no one can answer that question for you, here’s some information that could help you make your decision.
The Future of Home Price Appreciation
Each quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a national panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists to compile projections for the future of home price appreciation. The output is the Home Price Expectation Survey. In the latest release, it forecasts home prices will continue appreciating over the next five years (see graph below):
As the graph shows, the rate of appreciation will moderate over the next few years as the market shifts away from the unsustainable pace it saw during the pandemic. After this year, experts project home price appreciation will continue, but at levels that are more typical for the market. As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:
“People should not anticipate another double-digit price appreciation. Those days are over. . . .We may return to more normal price appreciation of 4%, 5% a year.”
For you, that ongoing appreciation should give you peace of mind your investment in homeownership is worthwhile because you’re buying an asset that’s projected to grow in value in the years ahead.
What Does That Mean for You?
To give you an idea of how this could impact your net worth, here’s how a typical home could grow in value over the next few years using the expert price appreciation projections from the Pulsenomics survey mentioned above (see graph below):
As the graph conveys, even at a more typical pace of appreciation, you still stand to make significant equity gains as your home grows in value. That’s what’s at stake if you delay your plans.
If you’re ready to become a homeowner, know that buying today can set you up for long-term success as your asset’s value (and your own net worth) is projected to grow with the ongoing home price appreciation. Let’s connect to begin your homebuying process today.
“The stunning jump in home values over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic has given U.S. homeowners record amounts of housing wealth.”
That’s great for your home’s value over the last couple of years, but what if you’ve lived in your home for longer than that? You may be wondering how much equity you truly have.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has done a study to calculate the typical equity gains over longer spans of time. The data they compiled could be enough to motivate you to move. Just remember, to find out how much equity you have in your specific home, you’ll want to get a professional equity assessment from a trusted real estate advisor.
How Your Equity Grows
Let’s start by establishing how you build equity in your home. While price appreciation is clearly a factor that can help boost your equity, you also build equity over time as you pay down your home loan. NAR explains:
“Home equity gains are built up through price appreciation and by paying off the mortgage through principal payments.”
Average Equity Growth over Time
The study from NAR breaks down the typical equity gain over time (see graph below). It calculates the equity a homeowner potentially gained if they purchased the median-priced home 5, 10, or 30 years ago and still own it today.
These six-figure numbers are impressive and certainly enough to help you fuel a move into your next home, but they’re not a promised amount. Remember, your own equity gain will be different. It depends on how long you’ve been in the house, your home’s condition, any upgrades you’ve made, your area, and much more.
If you want to find out how much equity you have, partner with a trusted real estate professional for an equity assessment on your home. They can provide an expert opinion on what your house is worth today and how the equity you’ve gained over time can help you when you purchase your next home. It may be some (if not all) of what you need for your next down payment.
If you’re thinking about selling your house and making a move, home equity can be a real game-changer, especially if you’ve been in your current home for a while. If you’re ready to find out how much equity you have, let’s connect.
The housing market is already painfully tight with bidding wars breaking out all over. Now, inflation (and interest rates, right along with it) are on the rise. Just looking at the prices on property listings online has you feeling the strain on your home-buying budget.
Given that the Federal Reserve typically hikes mortgage interest rates in order to slow inflation down and the fact that you may have to compensate by settling for less house than you initially wanted, is this really a good time to buy a home?
It could be. In fact, it could be far better to buy today than to wait. Here are all the things you need to know before you decide if homeownership is really in the cards for you:
Why You Shouldn’t Let Inflation Worries Keep You From Buying
First, you need to keep in mind that sage advice about how “the best time to buy a house is always five years ago,” because housing prices tend to keep increasing over time. There are no major indications that we’re in a real estate “bubble” that will simply collapse in the near future and lower the prices dramatically, either. The issues that gave rise to the real estate bust of 2008 simply aren’t in the picture today.
Second, real estate is typically seen as a good way to hedge against rising inflation. If you continue renting, your rent isn’t going to go down because inflation is rising. In fact, your rent is likely to increase. If you lock in a reasonable interest rate now on a fixed-rate mortgage, you have the security of knowing that your monthly payment will remain predictable while other costs are soaring.
Finally, putting your money into a mortgage helps you build wealth in three different ways:
1. You start building equity: When you rent, every dollar you pay goes into your landlord’s pocket, not yours. With a mortgage, you’re putting money back into your pocket each month in the form of equity in your home.
2. You raise your net worth: Despite occasional dips in the market, a well-maintained home is only likely to rise in value over time. As its value rises, so does your net worth. That gives you far more room to access funds for other needs in the future, like your child’s education or renovations.
3. You gain a significant tax break: The interest on your mortgage and your property taxes are both significant tax breaks. That can help you keep more of your money to pour into everything from your emergency fund to vacations.
It’s also important to remember that mortgage rates still are fairly low. Still plenty low enough to make mortgages attractive to most buyers — and plenty low enough to make a mortgage preferable to a rental payment.
Waiting to buy, however, means gambling that inflation will fall, and there’s no sign that will happen any time soon.
What Else You Need to Consider About Home Ownership and Inflation
When inflation is soaring, you need to remember one critical thing about owning a home: Everything you want to do in the way of renovations and everything you need to do in the way of repairs are going to cost more.
Supply chain issues and rising fuel costs have already driven up prices on all kinds of building materials, so you need to keep that in mind when you’re viewing homes for sale. A fixer-upper may not be a big deal if you’re handy, but the cost of your supplies could be outrageous right now. For that reason, you may want to steer clear of homes that look like they need major updates.
When you are thinking about renovations, you want to make every dollar count. Put your money into the repairs and upgrades that are most economically sound and meaningful. That may mean prioritizing a new roof over stainless steel appliances for the kitchen or adding a home office instead of an extra half-bath on the main floor.
Finally, you also need to keep your overall budget in mind. Inflation is bound to lead to increases in things like:
• Moving costs
• Repair fees
• Grocery bills
• Homeowners association dues
• Insurance costs
One of the wisest things you can do when you’re looking ahead to the cost of homeownership is to make sure that you have enough money set aside — after you make your down payment on a home and pay for any essentials — to cover anywhere from six to 12 months’ worth of expenses.
If you’re planning to buy a home, it’s critical to understand the relationship between mortgage rates and your purchasing power. Purchasing power is the amount of home you can afford to buy that’s within your financial reach. Mortgage rates directly impact the monthly payment you’ll have on the home you purchase. So, when rates rise, so does the monthly payment you’re able to lock in on your home loan. In a rising-rate environment like we’re in today, that could limit your future purchasing power.
Today, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate is above 5%, and in the near term, experts say that’ll likely go up in the months ahead. You have the opportunity to get ahead of that increase if you buy now before that impacts your purchasing power.
Mortgage Rates Play a Large Role in Your Home Search
The chart below can help you understand the general relationship between mortgage rates and a typical monthly mortgage payment within a range of loan amounts. Let’s say your budget allows for a monthly mortgage payment in the $2,100-$2,200 range. The green in the chart indicates a payment within that range, while the red is a payment that exceeds it (see chart below):
As the chart shows, you’re more likely to exceed your target payment range as mortgage rates increase unless you pursue a lower home loan amount. If you’re ready to buy a home, use this as your motivation to purchase now so you can get ahead of rising rates before you have to make the decision to decrease what you borrow in order to stay comfortably within your budget.
Work with Trusted Advisors To Know Your Budget and Make a Plan
It’s critical to keep your budget top of mind as you’re searching for a home. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, puts it best, advising that buyers should:
“Get preapproved with where rates are today, but also consider what would happen if rates were to go up, say another quarter of a point, . . . Know what that would do to your monthly costs and how comfortable you are with that, so that if rates do move higher, you already know how you need to adjust in response.”
No matter what, the best strategy is to work with your real estate advisor and a trusted lender to create a plan that takes rising mortgage rates into consideration. Together, you can look at your budget based on where rates are today and craft a strategy so you’re ready to adjust as rates change.
Even small increases in mortgage rates can impact your purchasing power. If you’re in the process of buying a home, it’s more important than ever to have a strong plan. Let’s connect so you have a trusted real estate advisor and a lender on your side who can help you strategize to achieve your dream of homeownership this season.
Buying your first home is a major decision and an exciting milestone. Even though it can feel daunting at times, it has the power to change your life for the better. If you’re looking to purchase your first home, you may be wondering what’s happening in the housing market today, how much you need to save, and where to start.
Here are three things that can help give you the information you need to confidently pursue your dream of homeownership.
1. Consider All Options When the Number of Homes for Sale Is Low
Today, there are far more buyers in the market than there are homes available for sale. When that happens, it’s a good idea to do what you can to increase your pool of options. That could mean expanding your search to include additional housing types. For first-time buyers, considering condominiums (condos) and townhomes can be an excellent way to increase your choices. According to Bankrate:
“Townhomes often cost less than single-family homes of a similar size in the same location.”
Based on the data above, the median down payment for all homebuyers is only 13%. That’s well below the common misconception of 20%, and it’s even lower for younger buyers. This could mean you may not need to save as much for a down payment as you initially thought.
There are also down payment assistance programs available for many buyers. Not to mention, some loan options require as little as 3.5% (or even 0%) down for buyers who qualify. While there are advantages to putting 20% down, especially in today’s competitive market, know that you have options. To get more information on how much you may need to save and the help that’s available, talk with a professional.
3. Work with a Trusted Real Estate Advisor Throughout the Process
Finally, no matter where you’re at in your homeownership journey, the best way to make sure you’re set up for success is to work with a real estate professional.
If you’re just starting out, they can help you with the initial steps, like educating you on the process and connecting you with a trusted lender to get pre-approved. Once you’re ready to begin your search, a real estate professional can help you understand your local market and search for available homes. And when it’s time to make an offer, they’ll be an expert advisor and negotiator to help your offer stand out above the rest.
Knowledge is key to succeeding on your homebuying journey. Knowing market trends, what you need for a down payment, and what options you have as a buyer today can give you the confidence you need to buy a home. Let’s connect so you have an expert on your side who can help you navigate the homebuying process.