There is a lot of discussion about the current state of Baton Rouge housing affordability for both first-time and move-up buyers, and much of the narrative is tarnished with a negative slant. However, the truth is that housing affordability is better today than at almost any time in our history.
The naysayers are correct in the fact that affordability today is not as good as it has been over the last several years. But, we must remember that home prices collapsed during the housing crash, and distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) kept home values depressed for years. When we compare affordability to the decades that proceeded the crash, a different story is revealed.
Here is a graph of the National Association of Realtors’ Housing Affordability Index. The higher the graph, the more affordable Baton Rouge homes are.
We can see that affordability is better today than in the fifteen years prior to the boom and bust.
CoreLogic just published a report showing the National Homebuyers’ “Typical Mortgage Payment.” Here is a graph of their findings:
Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, explained it best:
“While borrowing power for the potential home buyer has fallen relative to the low point of 2012, it remains high today and will remain high next year, relative to the long run average. If you don’t want to rent anymore and are considering becoming a homeowner, even if mortgage rates rise next year, your borrowing power will remain strong by historic standards.”
Owning a home in the Baton Rouge area has great financial benefits, yet many continue to rent! Today, let’s look at the financial reasons why owning a home of your own has been a part of the American Dream for as long as America has existed.
Zillow recently reported that:
“In reality, buying or renting a home is an intensely personal decision, with emotional and even financial considerations that go beyond whether to invest in this one (admittedly large) asset. Looking strictly at housing market numbers, there is a concrete point at which buying a home makes more financial sense than renting it.”
What proof exists that owning is financially better than renting?
1. We recently highlighted the top 5 financial benefits of Baton Rouge homeownership:
- Homeownership is a form of forced savings.
- Homeownership provides tax savings.
- Homeownership allows you to lock in your monthly housing cost.
- Buying a home is cheaper than renting.
- No other investment lets you live inside of it.
2. Studies have shown that a homeowner’s net worth is 44x greater than that of a renter.
3. Just a few months ago, we explained that a family that purchased an average-priced home at the beginning of 2017 could build more than $48,000 in family wealth over the next five years.
4. Some argue that renting eliminates the cost of taxes and home repairs, but every potential renter must realize that all the expenses the landlord incurs are already baked into the rent payment– along with a profit margin!!
Owning a home in our great city has always been, and will always be, better from a financial standpoint than renting.
With residential home prices continuing to appreciate here in Baton Rouge and across the nation at levels above historic norms, some are questioning if we are heading toward another housing bubble (and subsequent burst) like the one we experienced in 2006-2008.
Recently, five housing experts weighed in on the question.
Rick Sharga, Executive VP at Ten-X:
“We’re definitely not in a bubble.”
“We have a handful of markets that are frothy and probably have hit an affordability wall of sorts but…while prices nominally have surpassed the 2006 peak, we’re not talking about 2006 dollars.”
Christopher Thornberg, Partner at Beacon Economics:
“There is no direct or indirect sign of any kind of bubble.”
“Steady as she goes. Prices continue to rise. Sales roughly flat.…Overall this market is in an almost boring place.”
Bill McBride, Calculated Risk:
“I wouldn’t call house prices a bubble.”
“So prices may be a little overvalued, but there is little speculation and I don’t expect house prices to decline nationally like during the bust.”
David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices:
“Housing is not repeating the bubble period of 2000-2006.”
“…price increases vary unlike the earlier period when rising prices were almost universal; the number of homes sold annually is 20% less today than in the earlier period and the months’ supply is declining, not surging.”
Bing Bai & Edward Golding, Urban Institute:
“We are not in a bubble and nowhere near the situation preceding the 2008 housing crisis.”
“Despite recent increases, house prices remain affordable by historical standards, suggesting that home prices are tracking a broader economic expansion.”
Every year at this time, many homeowners decide to wait until after the holidays to put their homes on the market for the first time, while others who already have their homes on the market decide to take them off until after the holidays.
Here are seven great reasons not to wait:
- Relocation buyers are out there. Many companies are still hiring throughout the holidays and need their employees in their new positions as soon as possible.
- Purchasers who are looking for homes during the holidays are serious buyers and are ready to buy now.
- You can restrict the showings on your home to the times you want it shown. You will remain in control.
- Homes show better when decorated for the holidays.
- There is less competition for you as a seller right now. Let’s take a look at listing inventory as compared to the same time last year:
- The desire to own a home doesn’t stop when the holidays come. Buyers who were unable to find their dream home during the busy spring and summer months are still searching!
- The supply of listings increases substantially after the holidays. Also, in many parts of the country, new construction will continue to surge reaching new heights in 2018, which will lessen the demand for your house.
Waiting until after the holidays to sell your home probably doesn’t make sense.