- The percentage of income needed to afford a median-priced home today is declining, while that for renting is on the rise.
- This is making buying a home an increasingly attractive option for many people, especially with low mortgage rates driving purchasing power.
- Let’s connect if you’d like expert guidance on exploring your homebuying options while affordability is high.
Owning a home has great financial benefits.
In a recent research paper, Homeownership and the American Dream, Laurie S. Goodman and Christopher Mayer of the Urban Land Institute explained:
“Homeownership appears to help borrowers accumulate housing and nonhousing wealth in a variety of ways, with tax advantages, greater financial flexibility due to secured borrowing, built-in ‘default’ savings with mortgage amortization and nominally fixed payments, and the potential to lower home maintenance costs through sweat equity.”
Let’s breakdown 5 major financial benefits of homeownership:
1. Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available
Homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. A 20% down payment results in a leverage factor of five, meaning every percentage point rise in the value of your home is a 5% return on your equity. If you put down 10%, your leverage factor is 10.
Example: Let’s assume you purchased a $300,000 home and put down $60,000 (20%). If the house appreciates by $30,000, that is only a 10% increase in value but a 50% increase in equity.
2. You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent
Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of property taxes and home repairs. Every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs (property taxes, repairs, insurance, etc.) are baked into the rent payment already – along with a profit margin!!
3. Owning is usually a form of “forced savings”
Studies have shown that homeowners have a net worth that is 44X greater than that of a renter. As a matter of fact, it was recently estimated that a family buying an average priced home this past January could build more than $42,000 in family wealth over the next five years.
4. Owning is a hedge against inflation
House values and rents tend to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation. When you own, your home’s value will protect you from that inflation.
5. There are still substantial tax benefits to owning
We know that the new tax reform bill puts limits on some deductions on certain homes. However, in the research paper referenced above, the authors explain:
“…the mortgage interest deduction is not the main source of these gains; even if it were removed, homeowners would continue to benefit from a lack of taxation of imputed rent and capital gains.”
From a financial standpoint, owning a home has always been and will always be better than renting.
In a real estate market where home prices are rising, many have begun to reexamine the idea of buying a home, choosing instead, to rent for a while. But often, there is a dilemma: should you keep paying rent, knowing that rent is rising too, or should you lock in your housing cost and buy a home?
Let’s look at both scenarios and analyze the pros and cons of each:
With the housing market crash in 2008, many homeowners lost their homes and became renters. According to Iproperty Management, “the number of households renting their home … rose from 31.2% of households in 2006 to 36.6% in 2016”.
Some choose to rent because it is more convenient for their lifestyle. Those whose job requires frequent moves need the flexibility that a 6-12 month lease agreement gives them so they can move to their next assignment!
Many renters believe that renting is cheaper because they do not have to pay for maintenance and repairs. (Not true! Landlords work those expenses into your rent and other fees). Another reason many rent is that they feel like they cannot afford the down payment and closing costs required to buy a house, due to their inability to save much after paying their monthly expenses.
That can be true! Nearly 1 in 4 renters spend at least half their household income on rent. In 2017 the “severely” burdened renters’ rate was 24.7% with 24.9% reporting they were “moderately” burdened.
Renting also brings some financial disadvantages. Homeowners can take advantage of tax deductions that let them claim their property taxes and mortgage interest. Additionally, there is a big risk that your rent will go up every time you renew your lease, as we know the median asking rent has been increased steadily since 1988!One of the major challenges with renting is that you don’t have a space to call your own. When you rent, you are paying your landlord’s mortgage, and therefore they are the beneficiaries of the equity gained from paying that mortgage.
Now let’s explore the other side: Homeownership
In the past, we have mentioned the many financial and non-financial benefits of becoming a homeowner. So, let’s just focus on the one big difference between renting and owning, the ability to lock in your housing cost!
Assuming you will have a fixed-rate mortgage, your costs are predictable! You will know exactly what your mortgage payment will be for the next 15-30 years. The homeownership rate in 2018 was 64.4%, and has been on the rise. Those households locked in their housing cost rather than wait for their landlord to raise their rent again!
What are the disadvantages of owning a home? Well, it is a long-term financial commitment! It is not easy to pack quickly and move. You will need time and good planning to do it in a short amount of time.
Unless you have a homeowner’s association (HOA) (and you pay an HOA fee) or a home warranty, you will be responsible for maintenance and taking care of the home. This may range anywhere from regular landscaping to major repairs.
Like everything in life, there are pros and cons. What is better for you depends on your situation! If you are interested in becoming a homeowner and want to discuss the pros and cons, let’s get together to help you review your current situation and answer any questions you may have!
- Historically, the choice between renting or buying a home has been a tough decision.
- Looking at the percentage of income needed to rent a median-priced home today (27.7%) vs. the percentage needed to buy a median-priced home (17.5%), the choice becomes obvious.
- Every market is different. Before you renew your lease again, find out if you can put your housing costs to work by buying this year!
In a recent Insights Blog, CoreLogic reported that rent prices have skyrocketed since 2005. Meanwhile, the typical mortgage payment has actually decreased.
“CoreLogic’s national rent index was up 36% in December 2018 compared with December 2005, while the typical mortgage payment was down 4% over that period.”
Why the difference between the costs of renting versus owning?
It makes sense that rents have risen. However, how did mortgage payments decrease? CoreLogic explained:
“It’s mainly because mortgage rates back in December 2005 were significantly higher, averaging 6.3% for a fixed-rate 30-year loan, compared with 4.6% in December 2018.
The national median sale price in December 2005 – $190,000 – was lower than the $220,305 median in December 2018, but because of higher mortgage rates in 2005 the typical monthly mortgage payment was slightly higher back then – $941 – compared with $904 in December 2018.”
Additionally, a recent report by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that purchasing a home requires less of your monthly paycheck.
According to the Economists’ Outlook Blog, NAR’s February 2019 Housing Affordability Index showed that the “percentage of income needed” to pay the typical mortgage has decreased the last three months.
- November – 17.3%
- December – 16.9%
- January – 16.2%
- February – 15.9%
What does this all mean to the current housing market? We think First American said it best in a post last week:
“The mortgage rate-driven affordability surge has arrived just in time… Rising affordability has already benefited home buyers and, if the lower rate environment persists, we’re in for a great spring home-buying season.”
In a CNBC article, self-made millionaire David Bach explained that: “The biggest mistake millennials are making is not buying their first home.” He goes on to say that, “If you want to build real financial security, real wealth for your lifetime, then you need to buy a home.”
Bach went on to explain:
“Homeowners are worth 40 times more than renters. Now, that first home doesn’t need to be a dream home, it can be a very small home. You might literally have to buy a small studio apartment, but that’s how you get started.”
Then he explains the secret to buying that home!
“Don’t do a 30-year mortgage. You want to take that 30-year mortgage and instead pay it off early, do a 15-year mortgage. What happens if you do a 15-year mortgage? Well, one, you pay the mortgage off 15-years sooner, that means you’ll be able to retire in your fifties. Number two, you’ll save a fortune (on potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest payments).”
What will it cost to pay your mortgage in fifteen years? He explains further:
“For fifteen years, you got to brownbag your lunch. Think about that! Brownbag your lunch literally for fifteen years. You can retire ten years sooner than your friends. You’ll have real wealth, because you bought a home – you’re not a renter. And you’ll be financially secure for life.”
Whenever a well-respected millionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This millionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.
Who is David Bach?
Bach is a self-made millionaire who has written nine consecutive New York Times bestsellers. His book, “The Automatic Millionaire,” spent 31 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is one of the only business authors in history to have four books simultaneously on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek and USA Today bestseller lists.
He has been a contributor to NBC’s Today Show, appearing more than 100 times, as well as a regular on ABC, CBS, Fox, CNBC, CNN, Yahoo, The View, and PBS. He has also been profiled in many major publications, including the New York Times, BusinessWeek, USA Today, People, Reader’s Digest, Time, Financial Times, Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Working Woman, Glamour, Family Circle, Redbook, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Investors’ Business Daily, and Forbes.
The largest obstacle renters face when planning to buy a home is saving for a down payment. This challenge is amplified by rising rents, which has eaten into the amount of money renters have leftover for savings each month after paying expenses.
In combination with higher rents, survey after survey has shown that non-homeowners (renters and those living rent-free with family or friends) believe they need to save upwards of 20% for their down payment!
According to the “Barriers to Accessing Homeownership” study commissioned in partnership between the Urban Institute, Down Payment Resource, and Freddie Mac, 39% of non-homeowners and 30% of those who already own a home believe they need more than a 20% down payment.
The percentage of those who are aware of low down payment programs (those under 5%) is surprisingly low at 12% for non-homeowners and 13% for homeowners.
In a recent Convergys Analytics report, they found that 49% of renters believe they need at least a 20% down payment.
The median down payment on loans approved in 2018 was only 5%! Those waiting until they have over 20% may already have enough saved to buy now!
There are over 45 million millennials (33%) who are mortgage ready right now, meaning their income, debt, and credit scores would all allow them to qualify for a mortgage today!
If your five-year plan includes buying a home, let’s get together to determine what it will take to make that plan a reality. You may be closer to your dream than you realize!
Recently, multiple headlines have been written asserting that homeownership is less affordable today than at any other time in the last decade. Though the headlines are accurate, they lack context and lead too many Americans to believe that they can’t partake in a major part of the American Dream – owning a home.
In 2008, the housing market crashed and home values fell by as much as 60% in certain markets. This was the major trigger to the Great Recession we experienced from 2008 to 2010. To come back from that recession, mortgage interest rates were pushed down to levels that were never seen before.
For the last ten years, you could purchase a home at a dramatically discounted price and attain a mortgage at a historically low mortgage rate.
Now that home values have returned to where they should be, and mortgage rates are beginning to increase, it is less affordable to own a home than it was over the last ten years.
However, what is not being reported is that it is MORE AFFORDABLE to own a home today than at any other time since 1985 (when data was first collected on this point).
If you take out the years after the crash, affordability today is greater than it has been at almost any time in American history.
This has not been adequately reported which has led to many Americans believing that they cannot currently afford a home.
As an example, the latest edition of Freddie Mac’s Research: Profile of Today’s Renter reveals that 75% of renters now believe it is more affordable to rent than to own their own homes. This percentage is the highest ever recorded. The challenge is that this belief is incorrect. Study after study has proven that in today’s market, it is less expensive to own a home than it is to rent a home in the United States.
Thankfully, some are starting to see this situation and accurately report on it. The National Association of Realtors, in their 2019 Housing Forecast, mentions this concern:
“While the U.S. is experiencing historically normal levels of affordability, potential buyers may be staying out of the market because of perceived problems with affordability.”
If you are one of the many renters who would like to own their own homes, let’s get together to find out if homeownership is affordable for you right now.
Chances are if you are renting you are spending too much of your income on your monthly housing expense. There is a long-standing ‘rule’ that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their rent or mortgage payment. This percentage allows the household to save money for the future while comfortably covering other expenses.
According to new data released from ApartmentList.com, 49.5 million renters in the United States were cost-burdened in 2017, meaning they spent more than 30% of their monthly incomes on rent. This accounts for nearly half of all renter households in the country and is up 3.1 million from 2007.
When a household is cost-burdened by their monthly housing expense, they are not as easily able to save money for the future. This is a big factor for many renters who dream of owning their own homes someday.
But there is hope for those who are able to save at least a 3% down payment! The percentage of income needed in the US to buy a home is significantly less than renting at 17.1%!
The chart below compares the historic percentage of income needed to rent and buy from 1985-2000 to the first quarter of 2018. As you can see, the cost of renting has climbed above historic numbers while the cost of buying dropped over the same period of time.
If you are one of the many renters who is spending too much of their monthly income on rent, consider saving money by getting a roommate, moving into a less expensive apartment, or even moving in with family. These are all ways to save for a down payment so that you can put your housing costs to work for you!