Buying is now 33.1% cheaper than renting in the United States
The results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show 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 actually show that the range is 33.1% nationwide!
Other interesting findings in the report include:
- Interest rates have remained low and, even though home prices have appreciated around the country, they haven’t greatly outpaced rental appreciation.
- With rents & home values moving in tandem, shifts in the ‘rent vs. buy’ decision are largely driven by changes in mortgage interest rates.
- Nationally, rates would have to reach 9.1%, a 128% increase over today’s average of 4.0%, for renting to be cheaper than buying. Rates haven’t been that high since January of 1995, according to Freddie Mac.
Buying a home makes sense socially and financially.
How low interest rates increase your purchasing power
According to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Market Survey, interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage are currently around 4%, which is still very low in comparison to recent history! The interest rate you secure when buying a home not only greatly impacts your monthly housing costs, but also impacts your purchasing power. Purchasing power, simply put, is the amount of home you can afford to buy for the budget you have available to spend. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain monthly housing budget.
Lack of listings slowing down the housing market
The real estate market is moving more and more into a complete recovery. Home values are up. Home sales are up. Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen dramatically. It seems that 2017 will be the year that the housing market races forward again.
However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. While buyer demand looks like it will remain strong throughout the year, supply is not keeping up.
Here are the thoughts of industry experts on the subject:
Tom O’Grady, Pro Teck CEO
“The lack of inventory is very real and could have a severe impact on home sales in the months to come. Traditionally, a balanced market would have an MRI (Months Remaining Inventory) between six and 10 months. This month, only eight metros we track have MRIs over 10, compared to 27 last year and 48 two years ago—illustrating that this lack of inventory is not being driven by traditionally ‘hot’ markets, but is rather a broad-based, national phenomenon.”
Ralph McLaughlin, Chief Economist at Trulia
“Nationally, housing inventory dropped to its lowest level on record in 2017 Q1. The number of homes on the market dropped for the eighth consecutive quarter, falling 5.1% over the past year.”
“Tight housing inventory has been an important feature of the housing market at least since 2016. For-sale housing inventory, especially of starter homes, is currently at its lowest level in over ten years. If inventory continues to remain tight, home sales will likely decline from their 2016 levels. All eyes are on housing inventory and whether or not it will meet the high demand.”
If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strongest at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price.
Buyer demand continues to outpace inventory of homes for sale
The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, as well as the market demand. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions” for their Realtors Confidence Index. Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between Seller Traffic (supply) and Buyer Traffic (demand).
The map below was created after asking the question: “How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?”
The darker the blue, more buyers are looking for homes in that area. Only two states came in with a weak demand level.
The Index also asked: “How would you rate seller traffic in your area?”
Fall Real Estate Outlook