Owning a home is a major financial milestone and an achievement to take pride in. One major reason: the equity you build as a homeowner gives your net worth a big boost. And with high inflation right now, the link between owning your home and building your wealth is especially important.
If you're looking to increase your financial security, here's why now could be a good time to start on your journey toward homeownership.
A report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) details several homeownership trends, including a significant gap in net worth between homeowners and renters. It finds:
". . . the net worth of a homeowner was about $300,000 while that of a renter's was $8,000 in 2021."
To put that into perspective, the average homeowner's net worth is roughly 40 times that of a renter's. This difference shows owning a home is a key step in achieving financial success.
The net worth gap between owners and renters exists in large part because homeowners build equity. When you own a home, your equity grows as your home appreciates in value and you make your mortgage payments each month. As a renter, you don't have that same opportunity. A recent article from CNET explains:
"Homeownership is still considered one of the most reliable ways to build wealth. When you make monthly mortgage payments, you're building equity in your home . . . When you rent, you aren't investing in your financial future the same way you are when you're paying off a mortgage."
"Building home equity can help you increase your wealth over time, . . . A home is one of the only assets that have the potential to appreciate in value as you pay it down."
In other words, when you own your home, you have the advantage of your mortgage payment acting as a contribution to a forced savings account that grows in value as your home does. And when you sell, any equity you've built up comes back to you. As a renter, you'll never see a return on the money you pay out in rent every month.
Owning a home is an important part of building your net worth. If you're ready to start on your journey to homeownership, let's connect today.
Whether or not you owned a home in 2008, you likely remember the housing crash that took place back then. And news about an economic slowdown happening today may bring all those concerns back to the surface. While those feelings are understandable, data can help reassure you the situation today is nothing like it was in 2008.
One of the key reasons why the market won't crash this time is the current undersupply of inventory. Housing supply comes from three key places:
For the market to crash, you'd have to make a case for an oversupply of inventory headed to the market, and the numbers just don't support that. So, here's a deeper look at where inventory is coming from today to help prove why the housing market isn't headed for a crash.
Even though housing supply is increasing this year, there's still a limited number of existing homes available. The graph below helps illustrate this point. Based on the latest weekly data, inventory is up 27.8% compared to the same week last year (shown in blue). But compared to the same week in 2019 (shown in the larger red bar), it's still down by 42.6%.
So, what does this mean? Inventory is still historically low. There simply aren't enough homes on the market to cause prices to crash. There would need to be a flood of people getting ready to sell their houses in order to tip the scales toward a buyers' market. And that level of activity simply isn't there.
There's also a lot of talk about what's happening with newly built homes today, and that may make you wonder if we're overbuilding. But home builders are actually slowing down their production right now. Ali Wolf, Chief Economist at Zonda, notes:
"It has become a very competitive market for builders where they are trying to offload any standing inventory."
To avoid repeating the overbuilding that happened leading up to the housing crisis, builders are reacting to higher mortgage rates and softening buyer demand by slowing down their work. It's a sign they're being intentional about not overbuilding homes like they did during the bubble.
And according to the latest data from the U.S. Census, at today's current pace, we're headed to build a seasonally adjusted annual rate of about 1.4 million homes this year. While this will add more inventory to the market, it's not on pace to create an oversupply because builders today are more cautious than the last time when they built more homes than the market could absorb.
The last place inventory can come from is distressed properties, including short sales and foreclosures. Back in the housing crisis, there was a flood of foreclosures due to lending standards that allowed many people to secure a home loan they couldn't truly afford. Today, lending standards are much tighter, resulting in more qualified buyers and far fewer foreclosures. The graph below uses data from ATTOM Data Solutions on properties with foreclosure filings to help paint the picture of how things have changed since the crash:
This graph shows how in the time around the housing crash there were over one million foreclosure filings per year. As lending standards tightened since then, the activity started to decline. And in 2020 and 2021, the forbearance program was a further aid to help prevent a repeat of the wave of foreclosures we saw back around 2008.
That program was a game changer, giving homeowners options for things like loan deferrals and modifications they didn't have before. And data on the success of that program shows four out of every five homeowners coming out of forbearance are either paid in full or have worked out a repayment plan to avoid foreclosure. These are a few of the biggest reasons there won't be a wave of foreclosures coming to the market.
Although housing supply is growing this year, the market certainly isn't anywhere near the inventory levels that would cause prices to drop significantly. That's why inventory tells us the housing market won't crash.
If you're thinking about selling your house, you may have heard about the housing market slowing down in recent months. While it's still a sellers' market, the peak frenzy the market saw over the past two years has cooled some. If you're asking yourself if you've missed your chance to sell your house and make a move, the good news is you haven't – motivated buyers are still out there. But you do need to price your house right for today's market. Here's why.
As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), says:
"Homes priced right are selling very quickly, but homes priced too high are deterring prospective buyers."
It's true buyer demand has slowed over the past few months as higher mortgage rates made it more expensive to buy a home. The result is fewer bidding wars and less competition among buyers (see visual below):
But don't forget – that's compared to the severely overheated market we saw over the past two years. According to the latest Confidence Index from NAR:
". . . 39% of homes sold above list price, down from 51% a month ago and 50% a year ago."
While this is a slower pace than even one month ago, serious buyers are still actively in the market, and they're buying homes that are priced right. In fact, the Confidence Index also notes the average home is selling in just 14 days.
If you're aiming to sell your house, be sure you're working with your agent to price it for today's housing market. As buyer demand softens, it's important to understand this isn't the same market as last year. It's not even the same market as just a few months ago. But it is still a sellers' market.
If you're ready to sell your house, seek the advice of a real estate professional. In some cases, you'll need to adjust your expectations accordingly to meet the market where it is today. Selma Hepp, Interim Lead, Deputy Chief Economist at CoreLogic, explains what's happening and what it means when you sell:
"Signs of a broader slowdown in the housing market are evident, . . . This is in line with our previous expectations and given the notable cooling of buyer demand due to higher mortgage rates. . . . Nevertheless, buyers still remain interested, which is keeping the market competitive — particularly for attractive homes that are properly priced."
While the housing market has cooled from its overheated frenzy, it's still a sellers' market. Let's connect so you understand what's happening with buyer demand and home prices in our local area as you get ready to enter the market.