Interest rates have hovered around 4% for the majority of 2017, which has given many buyers relief from rising home prices and has helped with affordability. Experts predict that rates will increase by the end of 2017 and will be about three-quarters of a percentage point higher, at 4.5%, by the end of 2018.
Last week’s Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey revealed that interest rates for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage have fallen to their lowest mark this year, at 3.88%. This is great news for homebuyers looking to purchase and homeowners looking to refinance.
The rate you secure greatly impacts your monthly mortgage payment and the amount you will ultimately pay for your home.
Let’s take a look at a historical view of interest rates over the last 45 years.
Be thankful that you can still get a better interest rate than your older brother or sister did ten years ago, a lower rate than your parents did twenty years ago, and a better rate than your grandparents did forty years ago.
Recently, Freddie Mac reported on the benefits of homeownership. According to their report, here are the five benefits that “should be at the top of everyone’s list.”
- Homeownership can help you build equity over time.
- Your monthly payments will remain stable.
- You may have some tax benefits.
- You can take pride in ownership.
- Homeownership improves your community.
Let’s expand on each of Freddie Mac’s points:
Homeownership can help you build equity over time.
Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts a Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey, which includes data from 2010-2013, reports that a homeowner’s net worth is 36 times greater than that of a renter ($194,500 vs. $5,400).
In a Forbes article, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun reported that now the net worth gap is 45 times greater.
Your monthly payments will remain stable.
When you purchase a home with a fixed rate mortgage, the majority of the payment (principle and interest) remain constant. On the other hand, rents continue to skyrocket. Your housing expense is much more stable if you own instead of rent.
You may have some tax benefits.
According to the Tax Policy Center’s Briefing Book -“A citizen’s guide to the fascinating (though often complex) elements of the federal Tax System” – there are several tax advantages to homeownership.
Here are four items from the Briefing Book:
- Mortgage Interest Deduction
- Property Tax Deduction
- Imputed Rent
- Profits from Home Sale
You can take pride in ownership.
Most surveys show that a major factor in purchasing a home is the freedom you have to design the home the way you want. From paint colors to yard accessories, you don’t need a landlord’s permission to make the house feel like a home.
Homeownership improves your community.
The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled ‘Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study explained:
“Homeownership does create social capital and provide residents with a platform from which to connect and interact with neighbors…Owning a home means owning part of a neighborhood, and a homeowner’s feelings of commitment to the home can arouse feelings of commitment to the neighborhood, which, in turn, can produce interactions with neighbors.”
There are many benefits to homeownership. That is why it is still a critical piece of the American Dream.
We have reported many times that the American Dream of homeownership is alive and well. The personal reasons to own a home differ for each buyer, but there are many basic similarities.
Eric Belsky is the Managing Director of the Joint Center of Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University.He authored a paper on homeownership titled – The Dream Lives On: The Future of Homeownership in America. In his paper, Belsky reveals five financial reasons why people should consider buying a home.
Here are the five reasons, each followed by an excerpt from the study:
1) Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available.
“Few households are interested in borrowing money to buy stocks and bonds and few lenders are willing to lend them the money. As a result, homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”
2) You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent.
“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.”
3) Owning is usually a form of “forced savings.”
“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”
4) There are substantial tax benefits to owning.
“Homeowners are able to deduct mortgage interest and property taxes from income…On top of all this, capital gains up to $250,000 are excluded from income for single filers and up to $500,000 for married couples if they sell their homes for a gain.”
5) Owning is a hedge against inflation.
“Housing costs and rents have tended over most time periods to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation, making owning an attractive proposition.
We realize that homeownership makes sense for many Americans for an assortment of social and family reasons. It also makes sense financially. If you are considering a purchase this year, contact a local professional who can help evaluate your ability to do so.
Three years ago, John Paulson gave a keynote address at the CNBC/Institutional Investor Conference. In his speech, he told those in attendance that he believes housing will continue its strong recovery for the next 4 to 7 years, saying that:
“The housing market has bottomed. It’s not too late to get involved. I still think buying a home is the best investment any individual can make. Affordability is still at an all-time high.”
When asked how the average person could take advantage of the current real estate market at the time, Paulson said:
“Buy a home and, if you can, buy a second home.”
Two years ago, Paulson reiterated his statement, saying:
“I still think, from an individual perspective, the best deal investment you can make is to buy a primary residence that you’re the owner-occupier of.”
Who is John Paulson and why should you listen to him?
Paulson is the person who, back in 2005 & 2006, made a fortune betting that the subprime mortgage mess would cause the real estate market to collapse. He understands how the housing market works and knows when to buy and when to sell.
What do others think of Paulson?
According to Forbes, John Paulson is:
“A multibillionaire hedge fund operator and the investment genius.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, Paulson is:
“A hedge fund tycoon who made his name, and a fortune, betting against subprime mortgages when no one else even knew what they were.”
So… Is what he said still true?
The core reasons behind Paulson’s statements still ring true today, but why does he believe homeownership is such a great investment?
Paulson broke down the math of homeownership as an investment:
1. “Today financing costs are extraordinarily low.”
The latest numbers from Freddie Mac show us that you can still get a 30-year mortgage at historically low rates of under 4%.
2. “And if you put down, let’s say, 10 percent and the house is up 5 percent,” as many experts predict, “then you would be up 50 percent on your investment.”
How many are seeing a 50% return on a cash investment right now?
Paulson goes on to compare the long term financial benefits of owning versus renting:
3. “And you’ve locked in the cost over the next 30 years. And today the cost of owning is somewhat less than the cost of renting. And if you rent, the rent goes up every year. But if you buy a 30-year mortgage, the cost is fixed.”
Whenever a billionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This billionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.
Thinking about selling your home soon? There are a lot of quick and inexpensive things you can do you make your property attract buyers.
1. Paint your front door a fun bright color. Red. Yellow. Orange. Green. Blue. It makes the house look well cared for and adds a pop of color.
2. Replace dated address numbers and/or mailboxes with newer and updated designs.
3. Trim back or remove overgrown trees and shrubs that are hiding the charming architectural details of your home.
4. Add some landscape lighting to you front path to make the house more inviting at night.
5. Add an outdoor bench to your porch or entry sequence. It is inviting place to wait for someone, put on shoes, leave packages, use as a plant stand. Think of it as your outdoor landing strip.
6. If your parkway is empty, consider adding shade trees. The city of Los Angeles gives them away free.
7. Add some potted plants, hanging baskets or window boxes to you front porch/steps.
8. Re-mulch all your front plant beds. The city of Los Angeles gives mulch away free.
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