Home affordability in the United States is nothing short of amazing. Sometimes we need perspective and need to look beneath surface statistics before making informed decisions
The chart below dramatically illustrates the impact of lower interest rates on housing costs, and the relative affordability of housing in the United States. The cost of a loaf of bread and a gallon of gas has more than tripled since 1989, and car prices have nearly doubled. While the median price of a new home has increased significantly, mortgage interest rates, which stood at 10 percent back in 1989, are less than half of what they were back then. The impact of rock-bottom interest rates is that the monthly mortgage payment on a median priced home in the United States has increased by a mere $4 since 1989.
Unless a buyer is paying cash, the monthly payment tends to be a far more relevant number than the home’s actual purchase price. So for buyers who are waiting for home prices to hit the floor, before buying it’s important to realize that the possibility of a slight drop in the price of a home will have very little impact on the monthly payment, while even a slight rise in interest rates (a far more likely scenario) will have a significant impact.
Timing the market to a T is never possible and in the current market, staying on the sidelines is more likely to result in a missed opportunity than a small savings.
Even so, buyer reluctance in the current market can outweigh compelling facts. Buyers are skittish about the housing market, and the fact is market skittishness is actually a good reason to buy now. General uncertainty about the housing market and a reluctance to take action only contributes to the number of deals and negotiating power available to astute buyers. Buyers who are waiting for the real estate market to “recover” are in fact waiting for a reduction in inventory, fewer foreclosed properties on banks’ books, rising home prices and sellers who don’t need to be as motivated.
That scenario will be welcome news for sellers, banks and the economy as a whole, but not for buyers. Now is the time for Buyers to act.
Based on an article written by Gary Keller.