There are some people who have not purchased homes because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage - either yours or your landlord’s. As Entrepreneur Magazine, a premier source for small business, explained this month in their article, “12 Practical Steps to Getting Rich”:
“While renting on a temporary basis isn't terrible, you should most certainly own the roof over your head if you're serious about your finances. It won't make you rich overnight, but by renting, you're paying someone else's mortgage. In effect, you're making someone else rich.”
Christina Boyle, Senior Vice President and head of the Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management organization at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:
“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”
As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ which allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity. Interest rates are still at historic lows, making it one of the best times to secure a mortgage and make a move into your dream home. Freddie Mac’s latest report shows that rates across the country were at 4.23% last week.
Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, now may be the time to buy.
CoreLogic recently released a report entitled, United States Residential Foreclosure Crisis: 10 Years Later, in which they examined the years leading up to the crisis all the way through to present day. With a peak in 2010 when nearly 1.2 million homes were foreclosed on, over 7.7 million families lost their homes throughout the entire foreclosure crisis. Dr. Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, had this to say,
“The country experienced a wild ride in the mortgage market between 2008 and 2012, with the foreclosure peak occurring in 2010. As we look back over 10 years of the foreclosure crisis, we cannot ignore the connection between jobs and homeownership. A healthy economy is driven by jobs coupled with consumer confidence that usually leads to homeownership.”
Since the peak, foreclosures have been steadily on the decline by nearly 100,000 per year all the way through the end of 2016, as seen in the chart below. If this trend continues, the country will be back to 2005 levels by the end of 2017.
As the economy continues to improve, and employment numbers increase, the number of completed foreclosures should continue to decrease.
“In 1984, 1994, 2000, and 2013, every time we have rate increases, we have increases in nominal home prices. We expect this to be more pronounced, as there is a big demand-and-supply gap at the present time.”
“The tightening labor market, rising wage growth, high levels of consumer confidence and a millennial generation with a pent-up demand for housing should allow the housing market to weather the storm of gradually rising interest rates.”
“Although we strongly believe that the housing supply-demand imbalance for single-family homes will continue to drive above-average home price appreciation, just as falling mortgage rates aided pricing power on the margin in recent months, we expect the opposite effect to become evident in the coming months.As such, we project year-end home price inflation of 4.8% for 2017 and 4.1% for 2018.”
“A modest increase in mortgage rates won’t have much of an effect on home purchases. A buyer may need to slightly re-evaluate which homes they can afford, but it’s not likely to make an impact on qualifying, in most cases.”
"Our survey data shows that mortgage rates would have to be significantly higher to have any meaningful impact. The house buying power that borrowers have, even with rates below five percent, still remains historically strong."
Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.
1. Prices Will Continue to Rise
CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Indexreports that home prices have appreciated by 6.9% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.8% over the next year. The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.
2. Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase
Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Surveyshows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have remained around 4% over the last couple months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac & the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by at least a half a percentage point this time next year. An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.
3. Either Way, You are Paying a Mortgage
There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage - either yours or your landlord’s. As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to build equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity. Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?
4. It’s Time to Move on with Your Life
The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise. But what if they weren’t? Would you wait? Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.
If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.
There is no doubt that historically low mortgage interest rates were a major impetus to housing recovery over the last several years. However, many industry experts are showing concern about the possible effect that the rising rates will have moving forward. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are all projecting that mortgage interest rates will move upward in 2017. Increasing interest rates will definitely impact purchasers and may stifle demand. In a recent study of industry experts, “rising mortgage interest rates, and their impact on mortgage affordability” was named by 56% as the force they think will have the most significant impact on U.S. housing in 2017. If rising rates slow demand for housing, home values will be impacted. To this point, Pulsenomics, recently surveyed a panel of over 100 economists, investment strategists, and housing market analysts, asking the question “In your opinion, at what level will the 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate significantly slow home value appreciation?” The survey revealed the following:
Most experts believe that rates would need to hit 5% or above to have an impact on home prices.
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. 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%.
Why the dramatic increase?
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, 93.7% of homes with a mortgage are now in a positive equity situation with 79.1% 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 during a recent presentation by Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist of NAR, at the Realtor’s Summit in San Diego, CA. Yun pointed to the fact that historically, young homeowners who were either looking for more space to accommodate their growing family or looking for a better school district were more likely to move more often (every 5 years). 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!
What does this mean for housing?
Many believe that a large portion of homeowners are not in a house that is best for their current family circumstances. They could be baby boomers living in an empty, four-bedroom colonial, or a millennial couple planning to start a family that currently lives in a one-bedroom condo. These homeowners are ready to make a move. Since the lack of housing inventory is a major challenge in the current housing market, this could be great news.
A reverse mortgage allows homeowners to convert part of the equity in a home to cash without having to sell the property. Due to the attractiveness of these loans, some senior citizens are being charged excessive up-front fees for services that are generally available free of charge or at a very low-cost through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Reverse mortgages allow you to convert part of the equity in your home into cash without having to sell your home. The cash may be paid to you in installments or a lump sum, so typically you don’t need to pay anything back as long as you live in your house.
However, consumers should understand that because they’re deferring repayment of the reverse mortgage until they move out of their home or die, the amount they owe will grow substantially over time. Interest charges are added to the loan each day it’s held, so it’s possible the reverse mortgage may grow to equal the value of the home. People who take out reverse mortgages are also still responsible for property taxes, insurance and maintenance costs.
Some ads say that heirs can inherit the home, but in order to keep it they must pay off the reverse mortgage loan along with possible fees and charges that can add up.
Some salespeople might try to pressure you into taking out a reverse mortgage with very high fees. Others may tempt you to use money from the loan to buy annuities or investments that may not be beneficial.
Be sure to read ads carefully and fully understand all the costs, terms and conditions before taking out a reverse mortgage. Those who need cash should consider getting a less costly home equity line of credit and check into programs that help defer or lower taxes and utility bills.
Here are tips to consider when thinking about a reverse mortgage:
Know the basic requirements. To apply for a reverse mortgage, a senior must be 62 years or older and have equity in the home. The home must be the primary residence and remain in good condition. The loan process can’t be initiated until the senior receives counseling from a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage counselor. Factors such as your age, the type of product, the value of your house and how much you owe on your house all contribute to the amount of money you may borrow.
Consult a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) counselor. An HECM counselor will help answer questions regarding eligibility, financial implications and other alternatives. The Fair Housing Association (FHA) does not recommend using any service charging a fee for referring a borrower to an FHA lender, as FHA provides all the information free of charge, and HECM housing counselors are available free or at a very low-cost. For a list of approved counseling agencies, consumers may also call 800-569-4287.
Involve heirs in the decision-making. Since a reverse mortgage affects the assets of the borrower in case of death, involving heirs will avoid future misunderstandings.
Make sure a reverse mortgage suits your needs. Determine whether it is practical to remain in the home for 5-10 years to make the reverse mortgage economical. Take into consideration future health care needs as well as safety and ease of use of the home.
Consider all the costs associated with obtaining a reverse mortgage. Be prepared to pay for some of the fees involved in the processing of a reverse mortgage loan, which can include an origination fee, closing costs, a mortgage insurance premium, a servicing fee, and the interest rate.
Understand the repayment terms. A reverse mortgage loan must be repaid in full when the owner dies or sells the home. Other conditions that affect loan repayment include failure to pay property taxes or hazard insurance, allowing the property to deteriorate, and if the borrower permanently moves, has a new primary residence, or fails to live in the home for 12 consecutive months.
According to a recent survey conducted by ClosingCorp, over half of all homebuyers are surprised by the closing costs required to obtain their mortgage. After surveying 1,000 first-time and repeat homebuyers, the results revealed that 17% of homebuyers were surprised that closing costs were required at all, while another 35% were stunned by how much higher the fees were than expected.
“Homebuyers reported being most surprised by mortgage insurance, followed by bank fees and points, taxes, title insurance and appraisal fees.”
Bankrate.com recently gathered closing cost data from lenders in every state and Washington, D.C. to be able to share the average costs in each state. The map below was created using the closing costs on a $200,000 mortgage with a 20% down payment. Keep in mind that if you are in the market for a home above this price range. your costs could be significantly more. According to Freddie Mac,
“Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”
Speak with your lender and agent early and often to determine how much you’ll be responsible for at closing. Finding out that you’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars right before closing is not a surprise anyone is ever looking forward to