House-Buying Power at Near-Historic Levels

We keep hearing that home affordability is approaching crisis levels. While this may be true in a few metros across the country, housing affordability is not a challenge in the clear majority of the country. In their most recent Real House Price Index, First American reported that consumer “house-buying power” is at “near-historic levels.” Their index is based on three components: Median Household Income Mortgage Interest Rates Home Prices The report explains: “Changing incomes and interest rates either increase or decrease consumer house-buying power or affordability. When incomes rise and/or mortgage rates fall, consumer house-buying power … [Read more...]

Homes More Affordable Today than 1985-2000

Rising home prices have many concerned that the average family will no longer be able to afford the most precious piece of the American Dream – their own home. However, it is not just the price of a home that determines its affordability. The monthly cost of a home is determined by the price and the interest rate on the mortgage used to purchase it. Today, mortgage interest rates stand at about 4.5%. The average annual mortgage interest rate from 1985 to 2000 was almost double that number, at 8.92%. When comparing affordability of homeownership over the decades, we must also realize that incomes have increased. This is why most indexes use … [Read more...]

Next Recession in 2020? What Will Be the Impact?

Economists and analysts know that the country has experienced economic growth for almost a decade. They also know that a recession can’t be too far off. A recent report by Zillow Research shed light on a survey conducted by Pulsenomics in which they asked economists, investment strategists and market analysts how they felt about the current housing market. That report revealed the possible timing of the next recession: “Experts largely expect the next recession to begin in 2020.” That timing concurs with a recent survey of economists by the Wall Street Journal: “The economic expansion that began in mid-2009 and already ranks as the … [Read more...]

What’s the Median Home Value in Your State?

If you’ve entered the real estate market as a buyer or a seller, you’ve inevitably heard the mantra “location, location, location” in reference to identical homes increasing or decreasing in value based on where they’re located. In today’s housing market where home prices are appreciating quickly, it’s important to know that not every home appreciates at the same rate. The map below demonstrates that point on a state-by-state basis using data from the National Association of Realtors. Demand often dictates value, even for houses in the same area of the country! High demand for starter and trade-up homes have driven prices up in these … [Read more...]

Homes are More Affordable in 44 out of 50 States

With both home prices and mortgage rates increasing this year, many are concerned about a family’s ability to purchase a major part of the American Dream – its own home. However, if we compare housing affordability today to the average affordability prior to the housing boom and bust, we are in much better shape than most believe. In Black Knight’s latest monthly Mortgage Monitor, they revealed that in the vast majority of the country, it is actually more affordable to purchase a home today than it was between 1995 to 2003 when looking at mortgage payments (determined by price and interest rate) as compared to incomes. Home prices are up … [Read more...]

Did Tax Reform Kill the Luxury Market? NOT SO FAR!

The new tax code limits the deduction of state and local property taxes, as well as income or sales taxes, to a total of $10,000. When the tax reform legislation was put into law at the beginning of the year, some experts felt that it could have a negative impact on the luxury housing market. Capital Economics: “The impact on expensive homes could be detrimental, with a limit on the MID raising taxes for those that itemize.” Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics: “The impact on house prices is much greater for higher-priced homes, especially in parts of the country where incomes are higher and there are thus a disproportionate number of … [Read more...]

Will Home Prices Fall as Mortgage Rates Rise?

Mortgage interest rates have increased by more than half of a point since the beginning of the year. They are projected to increase by an additional half of a point by year’s end. Because of this increase in rates, some are guessing that home prices will depreciate. However, some prominent experts in the housing industry doubt that home values will be negatively impacted by the rise in rates. Mark Fleming, First American’s Chief Economist: “Understanding the resiliency of the housing market in a rising mortgage rate environment puts the likely rise in mortgage rates into perspective – they are unlikely to materially impact the housing … [Read more...]

Moving Up to Your Dream Home? Don’t Wait!

Mortgage interest rates have risen by more than half of a point since the beginning of the year, and many assume that if mortgage rates rise, home values will fall. History, however, has shown this not to be true. Where are home values today compared to the beginning of the year? While rates have been rising, so have home values. Here are the most recent monthly price increases reported in the Home Price Insights Report from CoreLogic: January: Prices were up 0.5% over the month before. February: Prices were up 1% over the month before. March: Prices were up 1.4% over the month before. Not only did prices continue to appreciate, the level of … [Read more...]

What If I Wait Until Next Year to Buy a Home?

We recently shared that national home prices have increased by 6.7% year-over-year. Over that same time period, interest rates have remained historically low which has allowed many buyers to enter the market. As a seller, you will likely be most concerned about ‘short-term price’ – where home values are headed over the next six months. As a buyer, however, you must not be concerned about price, but instead about the ‘long-term cost’ of the home. The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all project that mortgage interest rates will increase by this time next year. According to CoreLogic’s most recent Home Price Index … [Read more...]

4 Reasons Why Today’s Housing Market is NOT 2006 All Over Again

With home prices rising again this year, some are concerned that we may be repeating the 2006 housing bubble that caused families so much pain when it collapsed. Today’s market is quite different than the bubble market of twelve years ago. There are four key metrics that explain why: Home Prices Mortgage Standards Mortgage Debt Housing Affordability 1. HOME PRICES There is no doubt that home prices have reached 2006 levels in many markets across the country. However, after more than a decade, home prices should be much higher based on inflation alone. Frank Nothaft is the Chief Economist for CoreLogic (which compiles some of the best data on … [Read more...]