Month: June 2016

US Housing Market Swings in Favor of Homeownership

According to the latest Beracha, Hardin & Johnson Buy vs. Rent (BH&J) Index,homeownership is a better way to produce greater wealth, on average, than renting. The results from the first quarter index showed that “16 of the 23 metropolitan markets investigated moved in the direction of buy territory.”

The BH&J Index is a quarterly report that attempts to answer the question: 

Is it better to rent or buy a home in today’s housing market?

“The U.S. housing market, when considered as a whole, has swung marginally more in favor of home ownership over renting a comparable property and investing monthly rent savings in a portfolio of stocks and bonds.”

The latest results were released shortly after the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, which reported that home prices had climbed 5.4% nationally since March 2015.

Ken Johnson Ph.D., Real Estate Economist & Professor at Florida Atlantic University, and one of the index’s authors states:

“This [growth] appears to be driven by a steady but strengthening job market, rising rents relative to rising ownership costs and recent slower growth in traditional financial portfolios consisting of stocks and bonds.”

Dallas and Denver are two of the major cities that continued to move deeper into rent territory, but they moved at a slower rate than they had in previous quarters. Johnson believes that, in these two markets, “strong economic support…should make for a soft landing in terms of slowing property price growth, increased marketing time for properties and lower probabilities that sellers will actually transact and close during a given marketing effort of their property.”

Bottom Line

Buying a home makes sense socially and financially. Rents are predicted to increase substantially in the next year, so lock in your housing cost with a mortgage payment now.

 

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Harvard: 5 Reasons Why Owning A Home Makes Sense Financially

We have reported many times that the American Dream of homeownership is alive and well. The personal reasons to own a home differ for each buyer, but there are many basic similarities.

Eric Belsky is the Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University. He authored a paper on homeownership titled – The Dream Lives On: The Future of Homeownership in America. In his paper, Belsky reveals five financial reasons why people should consider buying a home.

Here are the five reasons, each followed by an excerpt from the study: 

1) Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available.

“Few households are interested in borrowing money to buy stocks and bonds and few lenders are willing to lend them the money. As a result, 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.”

2) You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent.

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

3) Owning is usually a form of “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.”

4) There are substantial tax benefits to owning.

“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.”

5) Owning is a hedge against inflation.

“Housing costs and rents have tended over most time periods to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation, making owning an attractive proposition. 

Bottom Line

We 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 a local professional who can help evaluate your ability to do so.

 

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Wall Street Journal: Housing Recovery Picks Up Steam

Yesterday, we ran a post quoting major housing experts on the increasing strength of the U.S. housing market. We were pleasantly surprised that, on the same day, the Wall Street Journal decided to run a front page story titled, “Housing Recovery Picks Up Steam”(article available to WSJ subscribers).

The first paragraph of the article says it best:

WSJ

“Home prices are back to near-record highs across the U.S. amid rising demand and supply constraints, a sign that the lopsided housing-market recovery of the past five years is gaining some strength.” (emphasis added).

What about the struggles in the economy? 

Some openly question how the real estate market can be gaining ground if the overall economy is still struggling. According to the WSJ, it is:

“Despite the unbalanced recovery, Federal Reserve officials have seen housing as a bright spot for the U.S. economy in recent years. Residential construction has contributed to overall economic output for eight straight quarters, expanding at a 17% annual rate in a first quarter marked by slow growth in other sectors.”

Bottom Line

The housing market is gaining strength and all indicators point to an even stronger real estate market moving forward.

 

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