Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400).
The latest survey data, covering 2014-2016 will be released later this year. In the meantime, Lawrence Yun, the National Association of Realtors’ Chief Economist estimates that the gap has widened even further, to 45 times greater ($225,000 vs. $5,000)!
As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth. Every time you pay your rent, you are contributing to your landlord’s net worth.
“Despite the growing concern over affordable housing, this survey makes it clear that a strong majority still believe in homeownership and aspire to own a home of their own. Building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment, and having the freedom to choose their neighborhood remain the top reasons to own a home.”
If you are interested in finding out if you could put your housing cost to work for you by purchasing a home, let’s get together and evaluate your ability to buy today!
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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) keeps historical data on many aspects of homeownership. One of the data points that has changed dramatically is the median tenure of a family in a home, meaning how long a family stays in a home prior to moving. As the graph below shows, for over twenty years (1985-2008), the median tenure averaged exactly six years. However, since 2008, that average is almost nine years – an increase of almost 50%.
The reasons for this change are plentiful!
The fall in home prices during the housing crisis left many homeowners in a negative equity situation (where their home was worth less than the mortgage on the property). Also, the uncertainty of the economy made some homeowners much more fiscally conservative about making a move.
With home prices rising dramatically over the last several years, 93.9% of homes with a mortgage are now in a positive equity situation with 78.8% of them having at least 20% equity, according to CoreLogic.
With the economy coming back and wages starting to increase, many homeowners are in a much better financial situation than they were just a few short years ago.
One other reason for the increase was brought to light by NAR in their 2017 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report. According to the report,
“Sellers 36 years and younger stayed in their home for six years…”
These homeowners who are either looking for more space to accommodate their growing families or for better school districts are more likely to move more often (compared to 10 years for typical sellers in 2016). The homeownership rate among young families, however, has still not caught up to previous generations, resulting in the jump we have seen in median tenure!
Many believe that a large portion of homeowners are not in a house that is best for their current family circumstance; They could be baby boomers living in an empty, four-bedroom colonial, or a millennial couple living in a one-bedroom condo planning to start a family.
These homeowners are ready to make a move, and since a lack of housing inventory is still a major challenge in the current housing market, this could be great news.
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Recent headlines exclaimed the homeownership rate, as reported by the Census Bureau, rose again in the second quarter of 2017. What didn’t get much attention in the reports is that the homeownership rate for American households under the age of 35 increased a full percentage point from last quarter’s 34.3% to 35.3%. Millennials proved to have the highest increase of any age group.
This came as a surprise to some considering Millennials have come to be known as the “renter” generation. However, a new study by First American, 6 Trends Poised to Reshape Homeownership Demand, revealed reasons why homeownership numbers will continue to increase for Millennials.
Why does that matter? First American explains:
“Our model shows that, all other factors being equal, the likelihood of homeownership increases by 3 percent for those that earn a bachelor’s degree over those with a high school degree. The likelihood of homeownership jumps another 3 percent for those that earn a graduate degree.”
The more educated, the better the likelihood for homeownership. And, as we mentioned: Millennials are the most educated generation in the U.S.
Marriage is a key determinate in homeownership. According to an analysis by First American, the homeownership rate is 30% higher among married couples compared to non-married households.
Millennials have put off marriage in the pursuit of higher education. As this group ages, more and more will marry and purchase a home.
According to the study:
“The homeownership rate is 1.7% higher for households with one or two children compared to households with no children, and it is 5.4 percent higher for households with three or more children.”
The report goes on to say that as Millennials grow older there may be an increase in not just marriage but also in married couples with children. That will probably also create a “corresponding” increase in homeownership demand.
The study goes on to explain that recent gains in income growth and a strengthening economy will also help all generations (including Millennials) be more willing and able to purchase a new home.
We guess the time has come to announce – Here come the Millennials!!
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There are many benefits to homeownership. One of the top benefits is being able to protect yourself from rising rents by locking in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.
A recent article by ConsumerAffairs addressed the continuous rise in rents, stating:
“The cost of putting a roof over your head continues to go up. Not only are home prices still rising, but the cost of rent rose 0.5% in June.”
Additionally, in the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University’s 2017 State of the Nation’s Housing Report, it was revealed that,
“Despite a slight improvement from 2014, fully one-third of US households paid more than 30 percent of their incomes for housing in 2015. Renters continue to be more likely to face cost burdens…the number of cost-burdened renters (21 million) considerably outstrips the number of cost-burdened owners (18 million) even though nearly two-thirds of US households own their homes.”
These households struggle to save for a rainy day and pay other bills, including groceries and healthcare.
As we have previously mentioned, the results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Reportfrom Trulia shows that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.
The updated numbers show that the range is an average of 3.5% less expensive in San Jose (CA), all the way up to 50.1% less expensive in Baton Rouge (LA), and 33.1% nationwide!
Perhaps you have already saved enough to buy your first home. A nationwide survey of about 24,000 renters found that 80% of millennial renters plan to eventually buy a house, but 72% cite affordability as their primary obstacle. Aside from affordability, one in three millennial renters have concerns about their credit scores, and another 53% said that a down payment is an obstacle.
Many first-time homebuyers who believe that they need a large down payment may be holding themselves back from their dream homes. As we have reported before, in many areas of the country, a first-time home buyer can save for a 3% down payment in less than two years. You may have already saved enough!
Don’t get caught in the trap that so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Let’s get together to determine if you can qualify for a mortgage now!