A loaf of bread used to be a nickel. A movie ticket was a dime. Not anymore. Houses were also much less expensive than they are now. Inflation raised the price of all three of those items, along with the price of almost every other item we purchase.
The reason we can still afford to consume is that our wages have also risen over time. The better measure of whether an item is more expensive than it was before is what percentage of our income it takes to purchase that item today compared to earlier. Let’s look at purchasing a home.
The COST of a home is determined by three major components: price, mortgage interest rate, and wages. The big question? Are we paying a greater percentage of our income toward our monthly mortgage payment today than previous generations? Surprisingly, the answer is no.
Historically, Americans have paid just over 21% of their income toward their monthly mortgage payment.
Though home prices are higher than before, wages have risen as well. And, the most important component in the cost equation – the mortgage rate – is dramatically lower than it was in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.
Today, according to the latest Home Affordability Index just released by the National Association of Realtors, Americans are paying 17.4% of their income toward their mortgage payment. That is much lower than the 21% average previous generations have paid.
The cost of purchasing a home today is a bargain compared to previous generations when we look at it from a percentage of income basis. However, with mortgage rates expected to increase and home prices continuing to appreciate, that will not always be the case. Whether you are buying your first home or looking to move-up to a more expensive home, purchasing sooner rather than later probably makes sense.
Source: Keeping Current Matters, 1-17-19
Homeowners who purchase their homes before the age of 35 are better prepared for retirement at age 60, according to a new Urban Institute study. The organization surveyed adults who turned 60 or 61 between 2003 and 2015 for their data set.
“Today’s older adults became homeowners at a younger age than today’s young adults. Half the older adults in our sample bought their first house when they were between 25 and 34 years old, and 27 percent bought their first home before age 25.”
The full breakdown is in the chart below:
The study goes on to show the impact of purchasing a home at an early age. Those who purchased their first homes when they were younger than 25 had an average of $10,000 left on their mortgage at age 60. The 50% of buyers who purchased in their mid-twenties and early-30s had close to $50,000 left, but traditionally had purchased more expensive homes.
Many housing experts are concerned that the homeownership rate amongst millennials, those 18-34, is much lower than previous generations in the same age range. The study results gave a great reason why this generation should consider buying instead of signing a renewal on their lease:
“As people age into retirement, they rely more heavily on their wealth rather than their income to support their lifestyles. Today’s young adults are failing to build housing wealth, the largest single source of wealth, at the same rate as previous generations.
While people make the choice to own or rent that suits them at a given point, maybe more young adults should take into account the long-term consequences of renting when homeownership is an option.”
If you are one of the many young people debating whether buying a home this year is right for you, sit with a local real estate professional who can help.
Source: Keeping Current Matters, 1-15-19
Interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage climbed consistently throughout 2018 until the middle of November. After that point, rates returned to levels that we saw in August to close out the year at 4.55%, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
After the first week of 2019, rates have continued their downward trend. As Freddie Mac’s Chief EconomistSam Khater notes, this is great news for homebuyers. He states,
“Mortgage rates declined to start the new year with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dipping to 4.51 percent. Low mortgage rates combined with decelerating home price growth should get prospective homebuyers excited to buy.”
In some areas of the country, the combination of rising interest rates and rising home prices had made some first-time buyers push pause on their home searches. But with more inventory coming to market, continued price growth, and interest rates slowing, this is a great time to get back in the market!
Will This Trend Continue?
According to the latest forecasts from Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association, and the National Association of Realtors, mortgage rates will increase over the course of 2019, but not at the same pace they did in 2018. You can see the forecasts broken down by quarter below.
Even a small increase (or decrease) in interest rates can impact your monthly housing cost. If buying a home in 2019 is on your short list of goals to achieve, meet with a local real estate professional who can help prepare you to take action.
Source: Keeping Current Matters, 1-9-19
As we kick off the new year, many families have made resolutions to enter the housing market in 2019. Whether you are thinking of finally ditching your landlord and buying your first home or selling your starter house to move into your forever home, there are two pieces of the real estate puzzle you need to watch carefully: interest rates & inventory.
Mortgage interest rates had been on the rise for much of 2018, but they made a welcome reversal at the end of the year. According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates climbed to 4.94% in November before falling to 4.62% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week. Despite the recent drop, interest rates are projected to reach 5% in 2019.
The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power.
Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford to buy will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.
The chart below shows the impact that rising interest rates would have if you planned to purchase a $400,000 home while keeping your principal and interest payments between $2,020-$2,050 a month.
With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, $10,000).
A ‘normal’ real estate market requires there to be a 6-month supply of homes for sale in order for prices to increase only with inflation. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), listing inventory is currently at a 3.9-month supply (still well below the 6-months needed), which has put upward pressure on home prices. Home prices have increased year-over-year for the last 81 straight months.
The inventory of homes for sale in the real estate market had been on a steady decline and experienced year-over-year drops for 36 straight months (from July 2015 to May 2018), but we are starting to see a shift in inventory over the last six months.
The chart below shows the change in housing supply over the last 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. As you can see, since June, inventory levels have started to increase as compared to the same time last year.
This is a trend to watch as we move further into the new year. If we continue to see an increase in homes for sale, we could start moving further away from a seller’s market and closer to a normal market.
If you are planning to enter the housing market, either as a buyer or a seller, make sure that you have an experienced local agent who can help you navigate the changes in mortgage interest rates and inventory.
Source: Keeping Current Matters, 1-2-19
Are you thinking of moving out-of-state? If you answered “yes,” there’s a good chance you live in the Northeast or Midwest. According to a national study conducted by United Van Lines, nine of the top ten states with residents moving to other states are located in those regions, with New Jersey and Illinois taking the top two spots.
The annual study—now in its 42nd iteration—tracks the state-to-state migration patterns of United Van Lines customers. The company found that, over the course of 2018, nearly 70 percent of moves in New Jersey were to other states.
On the other end of the spectrum, Vermont had the most inbound moves out of all 50 states. Some 72.6 percent of moves in Vermont were to other locations within the state. The state is also a clear outlier, as seven of the top 10 states with residents moving inbound are located in the West or the South. Here are those 10 states:
- Vermont (72.6 percent)
- Oregon (62.4 percent)
- Idaho (62.4 percent)
- Nevada (61.8 percent)
- Arizona (60.2 percent)
- South Carolina (59.9 percent)
- Washington (58.8 percent)
- North Carolina (57 percent)
- South Dakota (57 percent)
- District of Columbia (56.7 percent)
As mentioned, New Jersey and Illinois lead the nation in residents moving out-of-state at 66.8 and 65.9 percent, respectively. And Connecticut comes in a close third with 62 percent. Here are the 10 states with the most outbound moves:
- New Jersey (66.8 percent)
- Illinois (65.9 percent)
- Connecticut (62 percent)
- New York (61.5 percent)
- Kansas (58.7 percent)
- Ohio (56.5 percent)
- Massachusetts (55.7 percent)
- Iowa (55.5 percent)
- Montana (55 percent)
- Michigan (55 percent)
“The data collected by United Van Lines aligns with longer-term migration patterns to southern and western states, trends driven by factors like job growth, lower costs of living, state budgetary challenges and more temperate climates,” says Michael Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Also, the National Movers Study revealed that people are most often moving because of a new job opportunity or due to retirement, which may be a key indicator as to why so many folks are relocating to warmer states in the West and South. Agents, where are most of your out-of-state homebuyers coming from?
To view United Van Lines’ entire study, as well as an interactive map, click here.
Source: RISMedia, Jameson Doris, 1-3-19
- Interest rates are projected to increase steadily throughout 2019, but buyers will still be able to lock in a rate lower than their parents or grandparents did when they bought their homes!
- Home prices will rise at a rate of 4.8% over the course of 2019 according to CoreLogic.
- All four major reporting agencies believe that home sales will outpace 2018!
Source: Keeping Current Matters, 12-28-18
This year started strong for real estate, but then the market began to soften. Home inventory in the starter and move-up categories dwindled to almost nothing, mortgage rates were projected to rise, and home sales had decreased for several months in a row.
To many, the outlook heading into 2019 appeared dim… at best.
Then, in a 24-hour window last week, things seemed to change. On Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) revealed in their Existing Homes Sales Report that home sales had INCREASED for the second consecutive month. The next day, NAR’s economic research team announced that the percentage of first-time buyers in the market was higher than last month and even higher than a year ago.
What happened to turn around the downward momentum in the market?
You only needed to wait a few hours to find out. On the heels of NAR’s revelations, Zillow released their November Real Estate Market Report that explained:
“After nearly four years of annual declines in inventory, the number of homes for sale has now increased year-over-year for three straight months…”
Ending 2018, we now know two things:
- Listing inventory increased over the last three months
- Home sales increased over the last two months
Maybe a lack of inventory was the major challenge all along.
But, what about those pesky interest rates?
Last Thursday (the day after all of the above news), Freddie Mac announced that mortgage rates did not increase but instead decreased…again. From their release:
“The response to the recent decline in mortgage rates is already being felt in the housing market. After declining for six consecutive months, existing home sales finally rose in October and November and are essentially at the same level as during the summer months.
This modest rebound in sales indicates that homebuyers are very sensitive to mortgage rate changes – and given the further drop in rates we’ve seen this month, we expect to see a modest rebound in home sales as well.”
Will 2019 start out better than many have predicted? Perhaps, but we’ll have to wait and see. Things do look much better today, though, than they did just a month ago.
Source: Keeping Current Matters, 12-27-18
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Metro Council voted ‘yes’ on expanding the urban growth boundary that will allow thousands of acres of land to be developed in Beaverton, Hillsboro, Wilsonville and King City.
All seven council members voted in favor of the proposal Thursday, saying more housing is needed to alleviate the housing crisis.
Those who oppose to the expansion are concerned about its impact on wildlife and family farms.
The vote makes expands the urban growth boundary by 2,200 acres — making room for more than 9,000 new homes in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties.
Beaverton has requested the largest swath of space at more than 1,200 acres in the Cooper Mountain urban reserve area for more than 3,700 new homes. King City made the second-largest request for more than 500 acres to expand the Beef Bend South area for 3,300 homes.
Cities have already submitted plans about how they would support the growth, including how they will guarantee a mix of housing.
Metro Council President Tom Hughes said before he voted, “It may be the boondocks now, but it won’t be the boondocks any longer.”
Some residents feel they had no say in the matter and that the vote is just paving the way for development.
“The material that I have doesn’t even use the word ‘wildlife,'” said concerned resident Barbara Wilson. “They don’t acknowledge there is any wildlife there.”
Critics are also worried about erosion, especially along Fischer Road. A representative for the Tualatin River Keepers said the area is already experiencing extreme erosion caused by runoff from another development.
Source: Koin 6, Jennifer Dowling, 12-13-18
The Metro Council approved four expansions to the region’s urban growth boundary Thursday, opening 2,200 acres just outside four cities for development.
The regional government accepted proposals from Beaverton, Hillsboro, King City and Wilsonville that together are expected to account for 6,100 new houses and 3,100 apartments.
It’s the first expansion of the urban growth area since 2014. It’s also the largest since 2002, when 17,000 acres were added. That expansion included swaths of North Bethany, now a site of intense development, and Damascus, where residents have resisted urbanization.
This year’s urban growth decision is the first in which cities were required to submit concept plans for developing their prospective expansion areas. That’s an effort to avoid a situation like Damascus, where, without infrastructure or a city government, there’s little hope of the suburban development once imagined.
Metro estimates that over the next 30 years, more than 500,000 residents and 279,000 households will be added to the seven-county region — Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington and Yamhill counties in Oregon and Clark and Skamania counties in Washington. That includes other urban and rural areas beyond Metro’s boundary, which is limited to parts of Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties.
But the 9,000 residences projected in the expansion proposals are too few to have more than a modest effect on the affordability of homes for sale, and they aren’t expected to have much effect at all on rental prices, the agency said.
Overall, Metro’s forecast calls for the vast majority of new homes to be built within the existing urban growth area, either on vacant land or through redevelopment.
Metro is next expected to weigh an urban growth boundary expansion in 2024.
— Elliot Njus
Source: Oregon Live, Elliot Njus, 12-14-18