Put Your Housing Costs To Work For You

Put Your Housing Costs To Work For You

There are so many people these days debating whether they should renew the lease on their house or apartment, or sign a contract to purchase their first home. As we have said before, mortgage interest rates are still near historic lows and rents continue to rise.

Housing Cost & Net Worth

Whether you rent or buy, you have a monthly housing cost. The difference is whether you are helping someone else’s net worth, or your own.

As a buyer, you are contributing to YOUR net worth.

Every mortgage payment is a form of what Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies calls“forced savings.”

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

The principal portion of your mortgage payment helps build your net worth through building the equity you have in your home.

As a renter, you are contributing to YOUR LANDLORD’S net worth.

Below is an example of the home equity that would be accrued over the course of the next five years if you had purchased a home in January; based on the results of the Home Price Expectation Survey.

Put Your Housing Cost To Work For You! | Simplifying The Market

In this example, simply by paying your mortgage, you would have increased your net worth by over $44,000!

Bottom Line

Use your monthly housing costs to your advantage! Ask questions, become informed. Let’s meet up to discuss the opportunities available in our Lake Tahoe market.

Real Estate is a Great Investment

Real Estate is a Great Investment

This morning I had an interesting exchange with a potential client where they were telling me how they had read that real estate is no longer a good investment and they cited an economist named Alex Tabarrok. I gave them my best reply at the time, but I wanted to give them a more informed response, and rather than just use my own anecdotal evidence, I really wanted to provide them with information from other professionals in the field of economics. I have stated and reported many times that the American Dream of homeownership is alive and well, and tomorrow, I’ll touch on the personal benefits to homeownership, however, here is what I came up with for today:

In a recent blog post on Marginal Revolution, economist Alex Tabarrok discussed homeownership as an investment.

Here is what Mr. Tabarrok had to say:

“Housing is overrated as a financial investment. First, it’s not good to have a significant share of your wealth locked into a single asset. Diversification is better and it’s easier to diversify with stocks. Second, unless you are renting the basement, houses don’t pay dividends. Stocks do. You can hope that your house will accumulate in value but don’t count on it. Indeed, you should expect that as an investment your house will appreciate less than does the stock market. You didn’t expect to get a great investment and a place to live in the meantime, did you?”

Here is my rebuttal:

Eric Belsky, the Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University expanded on the top financial benefits of homeownership in his paper –The Dream Lives On: the Future of Homeownership in America.

Let’s use some quotes from Belsky’s study to address comments by Mr. Tabarrok:

Tabarrok:  

“Housing is overrated as a financial investment.”

Belsky:

“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”

Tabarrok:

You can hope that your house will accumulate in value but don’t count on it. Indeed, you should expect that as an investment your house will appreciate less than does the stock market.”

Belsky:

“Homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”

Tabarrok:

“You didn’t expect to get a great investment and a place to live in the meantime, did you?”

Belsky:

“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.

Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income…On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain.”

Bottom Line

I realize that homeownership makes sense for many Americans for an assortment of social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially. If you are considering a purchase this year, contact myself or a professional in your area who can help you evaluate your ability to do so.

14,986 Homes Sold Yesterday… Did Yours?

14,986 Homes Sold Yesterday… Did Yours?

There are some homeowners that have been waiting for months to get a price they hoped for when they originally listed their house for sale. The only thing they might want to consider is… If it hasn’t sold yet, maybe it’s not priced properly, or maybe it isn’t getting the exposure that it deserves.

After all 14,986 houses sold yesterday, 14,986 will sell today and 14,986 will sell tomorrow.

14,986!

That is the average number of homes that sell each and every day in this country according to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Existing Home Sales Report. NAR reported that sales are at an annual rate of 5.59 million. Divide that number by 365 (days in a year) and we can see that, on average, over 14,986 homes sell every day.

The report from NAR also revealed that there is currently only a 4.0-month supply of inventory available for sale, (6-months inventory is considered ‘historically normal’).

This means that there are not enough homes available for sale to satisfy the buyers who are out in the market now in record numbers. Your home SHOULD be selling.

Bottom Line

I realize that you want to get the fair market value for your home. You need to consider the fact that you may need to list it with a Realtor if you haven’t. Otherwise, however, if it hasn’t sold in today’s active real estate market, perhaps you should reconsider your current asking price.

Thinking of Buying a Home? What Are You Waiting For?

Thinking of Buying a Home? What Are You Waiting For?

The Time to Buy is Now

With spring right around the corner, you may be wondering if you should wait to enter the housing market. Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.3% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 5.4% over the next year. The Home Price Expectation Survey polls a distinguished panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts. Their most recent report projects home values to appreciate by more than 3.2% a year for the next 5 years.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have remained below 4%. Most experts predict that they will begin to rise over the next 12 months. TheMortgage Bankers Association, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison projecting that rates will be up almost three-quarters of a percentage point by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. Your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

Either Way You Are Paying a Mortgage

As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide whether it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe it is time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.

Bottom Line

If you are ready and willing to buy, find out if you are able to. Let’s get to together to discuss finding you your dream home.

Rising Home Prices – Where Are They Headed?

Rising Home Prices – Where Are They Headed?

Future Home Values: Where Do The Experts Think They Are Headed? | Keeping Current Matters

Today, many real estate conversations center on rising home prices and where they may be headed. That is why I like the Home Price Expectation Survey.

Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where they believe prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.

The results of their latest survey:

Home values will appreciate by 3.7% over the course of 2016, 3.3% in 2017 and 3.2% in the next two years, and finally 3.1% in 2020 (as shown below). That means the average annual appreciation will be 3.3% over the next 5 years.

Future Home Values: Where Do The Experts Think They Are Headed? | Keeping Current Matters

The prediction for cumulative appreciation slowed slightly from 21.6% to 17.7% by 2020. The experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of 10.9%.

Future Home Values: Where Do The Experts Think They Are Headed? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Individual opinions make headlines. I believe the survey is a fairer depiction of future values. While this is all based on the National stage, I think we’ll see a similar correlation in Lake Tahoe itself, though we may rise a bit more than the national average.