First time home buyers

Don’t Get Caught In The Renter’s Trap

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Don't Get Caught In The Renter's Trap | Simplifying The Market

There are many benefits to homeownership. One of top ones is being able to protect yourself from rising rents and lock in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) released their findings of a study in which they studied“income growth, housing costs and changes in the share of renter and owner-occupied households over the past five years in metropolitan statistical areas throughout the US.”

Don’t Become Trapped

The study revealed that over the last five years a typical rent rose 15% while the income of renters grew by only 11%. If you are currently renting, this disparity in growth could get you caught up in a cycle where increasing rents continue to make it impossible for you to save for a necessary down payment.

The average renter in the United States pays 30% of their income on housing compared to that of a homeowner who can expect to spend 15%.

In many metro areas the percentage of income spent on housing is even higher and continues to rise every year. Like in San Francisco, CA, where the average renter spends 59% of their monthly income on housing or nearly 65% in Boston, MA.

Homebuyers who purchased their home over the same five-year period locked in their housing costs and were able to grow their net worth as home values have increased and their mortgage balances have gone down.

Know Your Options

Perhaps, you have already saved enough to buy your first home. HousingWire reported that analysts at Nomura believe:

“It’s not that Millennials and other potential homebuyers aren’t qualified in terms of their credit scores or in how much they have saved for their down payment.

It’s that they think they’re not qualified or they think that they don’t have a big enough down payment.” (emphasis added)

As we have reported last week, over 60% of Millennials who recently bought a home put down less than 20%; 36% put down less than 5%. Your dream home may be more attainable than you ever imagined!

Bottom Line

Don’t get caught in the trap so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Have a professional help you determine if you are eligible to get a mortgage.

Debunking Some Myths about Mortgage Availability

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Debunking Some Myths about Mortgage Availability | Simplifying The Market

There seems to be a growing chasm between what the public believes to be need and what is actually needed to qualify for a residential home loan.

A recent survey by Ipsos reported that:

  • Two-thirds of those surveyed believe they need a very good credit score to buy a home, with 45 percent thinking a “good credit score” is over 780.
  • Consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan, with 36 percent thinking a 20 percent down payment is always required.

However, according to American Enterprise Institute’s International Center on Housing Risk’s May First-Time Buyer Mortgage Risk Index (FBMRI), reality is far from perception. The report reveals:

  • 70% of first-time buyer mortgages had a combined loan-to-value ratio of 95% or higher
  • About 20% of first-time buyers taking out mortgages had a FICO score below 660
  • 25% had total debt-to-income ratios above 43 percent
  • The median first-time buyer with an agency mortgage made a down payment of only 3 percent, or $7200 in dollar terms.
  • The median FICO score for first-time buyers with agency mortgages was 705
  • For first-time buyers with FHA-insured loans, the median FICO score was only 672

These numbers contradict the frequent claims that first-time buyers face difficulties in obtaining mortgages.

Bottom Line

Stephen Oliner, co-director of AEI’s International Center on Housing Risk explained the reality of the situation.

“One hears all the time that first-time buyers have limited access to mortgage debt.  But this isn’t true. Many first-time buyers with low FICO scores and little money down are buying homes every month.”                               

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1st Time Buyers Finally Crashing the Real Estate Party

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1st Time Buyers Finally Crashing the Real Estate Party | Simplifying The Market

There has been much conversation regarding the lack of first time home buyers in today’s real estate market. However, three recent reports seem to suggest that they are now entering the market in increasing numbers.

The most recent Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported that:

“The percent share of first-time buyers rose to 32 percent in May, up from 30 percent in April and matching the highest share since September 2012. A year ago, first-time buyers represented 27 percent of all buyers.”

And, in a recent Washington Post article, Ken Harney revealed that:

“According to a June 19 Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance tracking survey, which polls 2,000 real estate agents nationwide, first-time buyers accounted for nearly 39 percent of home purchases in May; that’s the highest level since August 2010.” 

Also, according to American Enterprise Institute’s International Center on Housing Risk’s May First-Time Buyer Mortgage Risk Index (FBMRI), the share of first-time buyers stood at an estimated 52.2 percent.

Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist at NAR explained:

“The return of first-time buyers in May is an encouraging sign and is the result of multiple factors, including strong job gains among young adults, less expensive mortgage insurance and lenders offering low down payment programs.”

Bottom Line

It seems that the number of first time buyers is increasing for the first time in a long time. This further lends credence to the fact that the residential housing market is back.

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2 Out of 3 Renters Want to Own. What’s Stopping Them?

2 Out of 3 Renters Want to Own. What’s Stopping Them? | Simplifying The Market

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently released the 2015 SCE Housing Survey. The survey revealed that most current renters would prefer owning and that 61.9% of them plan to buy a home within the next five years.

68.3% stated they would prefer owning (with 45.6% saying they ‘strongly’ prefer owning). When asked at what point in the future do they think they will own a primary residence:

  • 8.2% said within a year
  • 15.3% said in 1 to 2 years
  • 38.4% said between 3 to 5 years

What’s Holding Them Back?

Of the 68.3% who would prefer to own, 2 out of 3 cited difficulty in getting a mortgage for the reason they do not own. However, many believe that the reason so many think that it would be difficult to get a mortgage is not fully based on current market realities.

For example, studies have shown that there is confusion over the amount of money needed for a down payment. Research has shown that 40 to 50% of Americans believe that between 15-20% is the minimum required for a down payment. In reality, there are many programs available at 5% and even 3%. There are even some programs that don’t require any down payment (ex. VA loans).

Others fear they need a perfect credit score or believe that the overall mortgaging process has become almost impossible. Actually, the Mortgage Credit Availability Index, a report from the Mortgage Bankers Association, has shown that, over the last seven months, access to mortgages has gotten much more available.

And the NY Fed study suggests that some renters are waiting for interest mortgage rates to fall even further. Fifty percent of the renters surveyed believe mortgage interest rates will fall over the nextyear and almost 10% believe that they will fall by more than 1%. However, the reality of the situation is that Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtorsare all projecting that rates will be significantly higher at this time next year. They are all predicting mortgage rates will be almost 1% higher!

Bottom Line

Many renters want to own their own home. Some are not moving forward based on misunderstandings regarding the mortgage process. If you are currently a renter who desires the benefits of homeownership, let’s sit down and determine what your options actually are.

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Does Homeownership Make Sense Financially?

Does Homeownership Make Sense Financially? | Simplifying The Market

Everyone knows the social advantages of home ownership. However, some question the financial benefits of owning a home. Three recent studies shed some light on the issue.

RealtyTrac recently released a report comparing home price appreciation to wage growth over the last two years. The study revealed that home price appreciation has outpaced wage growth in 76% of U.S. housing markets during that time period. By how much? Here is a graph showing their findings:

Prices vs Wages | Simplifying The Market

And we all know the importance of home appreciation in determining the net wealth of most American families. Merrill Lynch just issued a report covering the issue. Their findings are shown here:

Home Equity | Simplifying The Market

It obviously makes financial sense to be a homeowner.

But, does it make sense to buy now?

The survey company Pulsenomics just issued their findings on the cost of owning versus the cost of renting. They compared historical averages to the cost you can expect to pay today.

Buy vs Rent | Simplifying The Market

The cost of buying is far below historical averages. Renting is another story.

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Either Way, You’re Paying a Mortgage

Either Way You're Paying a Mortgage | Simplifying The Market

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There are some people that have not 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 your mortgage or your landlord’s.

As a paper from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return. That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

Also, if you purchase with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, your ‘housing expense’ is locked in over the thirty years for the most part. If you rent, the one guarantee you will have is that your rent will increase over that same thirty year time period.

As an owner, the mortgage payment is a ‘forced savings’ which will allow you to have equity in your home you can tap into later in your life. As a renter, you guarantee the landlord is the person with that equity.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, owning might make more sense than renting since home values and interest rates are still lower than projected.