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.
Starting late last year, some predicted that the 2018 tax changes would cripple the housing market. Headlines warned of the potential for double-digit price depreciation and suggested that buyer demand could drop like a rock. There was even sentiment that homeownership could lose its coveted status as a major component of the American Dream.
Now that the first quarter numbers are in, we can begin to decipher the actual that impact tax reform has had on the real estate market.
1. Has tax reform killed off home buyer demand? The answer is “NO.”
According to the Showing Time Index which “tracks the average number of buyer showings on active residential properties on a monthly basis” and is a “highly reliable leading indicator of current and future demand trends,” buyer demand has increased each month over the last three months and is HIGHER than it was for the same months last year. Buyer demand is not down. It is up.
2. Have the tax changes affected America’s belief in real estate as a long-term investment? The answer is “NO.”
Two weeks ago, Gallup released its annual survey which asks Americans which asset they believed to be the best long-term investment. The survey revealed:
“More Americans name real estate over several other vehicles for growing wealth as the best long-term investment for the fifth year in a row. Just over a third cite real estate for this, while roughly a quarter name stocks or mutual funds.”
The survey also showed that the percentage of Americans who believe real estate is the best long-term investment was unchanged from a year ago.
3. Has the homeownership rate been negatively impacted by the tax changes? The answer is “NO.”
Not only did the homeownership rate not crash, it increased when compared to the first quarter of last year according to data released by the Census Bureau.
In her latest “Z Report,” Ivy Zelman explains that tax reform didn’t hurt the homeownership rate, but instead, enhanced it:
“We have been of the opinion that homeownership is most highly correlated with income and the net effect of tax reform would be a positive, rather than negative catalyst for the homeownership rate. While still in the early innings of tax changes, this has proven to be the case.”
4. Has the upper-end market been crushed by new State and Local Taxes (SALT) limitations? The answer is “NO.”
In the National Association of Realtors latest Existing Home Sales Report it was revealed that:
- Sales between $500,000 and $750,000 were up 4.5% year-over-year
- Sales between $750,000 and $1M were up 15.1% year-over-year
- Sales over $1M were up 17.3% year-over-year
5. Will the reforms in the tax code cause home prices to tumble over the next twelve months? The answer is “NO.”
According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insights Report, home prices will appreciate in each of the 50 states over the next twelve months. Appreciation is projected to be anywhere from 1.9% to 10.3% with the national average being 4.7%.
The doomsday scenarios that some predicted based on tax reform fears seem to have already blown over based on the early housing industry numbers being reported.
Link to Keeping Current Matters Blog: https-www-mykcm-com-2018-05-10-5-ways-tax-reform-has-impacted-the-2018-housing-market-
CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 675,000 US homeowners regained positive equity in their homes in 2017. This is great news for the country, as 95.1% of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation.
“U.S homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63% of all the properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of $908.4 billion since the fourth quarter 2016, an increase of 12.2%, year over year.”
Price Appreciation = Good News for Homeowners
Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:
“Home-price growth has been the primary driver of home-equity wealth creation. The CoreLogic Home Price Index grew 6.2 percent during 2017. The largest calendar-year increase since 2013. Likewise, the average growth in home equity was more than $15,000 during 2017, the most in four years.”
He also believes this is a great sign for the market in 2018, saying:
“Because wealth gains spur additional consumer purchases, the rise in home-equity wealth during 2017 should add more than $50 billion to U.S. consumption spending over the next two to three years.”
This is great news for homeowners! But, do they realize that their equity position has changed?
A study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are not aware that they have regained equity in their homes as their investment has increased in value. For example, their study showed that 23% of Americans still believe their home is in a negative equity position when, in actuality, CoreLogic’s report shows that only 4.9% of homes are in that position (down from 6.3% in Q4 2016).
The study also revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have “significant equity” (greater than 20%) when in actuality, 83% do!
This means that 46% of Americans with a mortgage fail to realize the opportune situation they are in. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a house (either larger or smaller) that better meets their current needs.
Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue in their report:
“Homeowners who underestimate their homes’ values not only underestimate their home equity, they also likely underestimate 1) how large a down payment they could make with their home equity, 2) their chances of qualifying for mortgages, and, therefore, 3) their opportunities for selling their current homes and for buying different homes.”
If you are one of the many Americans who is unsure of how much equity you have built in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home in 2018! Let’s get together to evaluate your situation!
Link to Keeping Current Matters Blog: https://www.mykcm.com/2018/03/20/are-you-aware-of-how-much-equity-you-have-in-your-home-you-may-be-surprised/