Rising home prices have created a market that favors sellers. Under these current market conditions, little
wiggle room for buyers on a budget is provided. In the previous year buyers in the market voiced that their top Real Estate sales stressor was a limited selection of inventory of homes for sale to choose from. Additionally, the year leading up to this year had notated that other top home buyer stressors were prices, competition, rising mortgage rates, and home shopping fatigue.
Here are the 2015 top home buyer stressors:
Affordability, prices jumped too quickly
Competition, other buyers want the same property
Circumstance, need to sell current property first
Down payment, didn’t squirrel away enough to prepare
Unreasonable mortgage rates, can’t make the move into home ownership just yet
For a first-time home buyer, one of the most difficult things to do is to just start the process? What does one actually do to buy a home? We’ve prepared this short list of links to help you begin your home buying quest.
Affordability Calculator — How much home can you afford? The affordability will help you determine what your price range.
Buyers Tips — Simple and effective tips for shopping homes.
Low mortgage rates and stabilizing incomes are keeping home affordability high and giving home buyers “ample buying power,” according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
The Wall Street Journal highlights the following example on just how affordable housing has become: “Assuming a 5 percent down payment, a 3.5 percent mortgage rate, and 25 percent of a gross income devoted to mortgage payments, a buyer would only need an income of $36,500 to buy a house at the median price. With a 10 percent down payment, the required salary falls to $34,600, and with a 20 percent down payment, it falls to $30,700.”
In the first quarter, the median family income nationwide was $62,200.
Housing affordability remains high despite recent reports that show home prices in 150 U.S. cities saw their biggest year-over-year gains in more than seven years, according to NAR’s most recent report, reflecting data from the first quarter of 2013. The median price of a single-family, existing home was $176,600 in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 11.3 percent from year ago levels, NAR notes.
Low interest rates helped keep housing affordability high in the final quarter of 2012, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index released on Thursday.
Nearly 75 percent of homes sold between October and the end of December were affordable to families earning the median income of $65,000.
“The most recent housing affordability data should be encouraging to many prospective home buyers, because it shows that home ownership remains within reach of median-income consumers even as most local markets appear to be on a recovery path,” says NAHB Chairman Rick Judson.
The median price of all new and existing homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $188,000.
“It is noteworthy that affordability remains historically high thanks to favorable mortgage rates even as national home price indexes show some rise in values,” says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.
The nation’s most affordable major housing market? For the second-consecutive quarter, it’s Ogden-Clearfield, Utah, according to the index. Nearly 94 percent of all home sales there were affordable to families earning the median household income of $71,500. Other affordable major housing markets were Dayton, Ohio; Indianapolis-Carmel, Ind.; Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.; and Syracuse, N.Y.
Meanwhile, the most expensive major housing market remains San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, Calif. Twenty-eight percent of homes sold in San Francisco during the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $103,000, according to the index.
Even if you can afford the cost of a home, remember owning a house requires additional expenses a renter doesn’t have to pay. For example, homeowners have to pay for insurance against disasters, for home repairs and improvements and for property taxes. In addition, condominium owners are required to pay maintenance fees as part of the homeowner’s association. Be sure to make yourself away of the additional expenses of owning a home so you don’t find yourself in trouble after purchasing.
Budgeting isn’t easy, but the fact is, if home buyers don’t set a budget for what they can afford for a house, things can go terribly wrong. The recent subprime mortgage crisis is a perfect example. Banks may say home-buying hopefuls can afford an amount they actually cannot afford. Budgeting is one way to ensure you don’t get trapped by knowing what you can and cannot afford to remain financially comfortable.
Create a budget that includes your major expenses. Examples of major expenses could be student loan payments, transportation costs (gas, car payments, etc.), credit card bills, cable bills and telephone bills. Also be sure to include expenses that come only once a year, like holiday bills or taxes. Add all this together and subtract it from what your earnings — the result is what you can afford on a house.Home buyers who skip this step could end up either badly wanting something they can’t afford and/or putting themselves at risk financially.
A new study contends that only 39 percent of U.S. communities are affordable for typical households when the cost of transportation is included in the calculation of housing costs.
The Center for Neighborhood Technology analyzed the Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, which examined 161,000 neighborhoods housing 80 percent of the U.S. population, and concluded that for most families, transportation is the second-largest household expense.
It is also a fairly unmanageable one, the study concluded, because it is difficult for families to estimate the full cost of a location before they move there. Gas prices and employment demands aren’t very predictable for many.
Factors that can help people control transportation costs include walkable neighborhood streets, access to public transit, and nearby retail.
Source: Center for Neighborhood Technology (03/23/2010)