Buying Better Than Renting After Three Years in 64 Percent of Metros
May 30, 2013
According to a recent report by Zillow, in 64 percent of metropolitan areas across the nation it's a smarter financial move to buy a home when compared to renting, if the person plans on staying for three years. This information is particularly important for a first time home buyer weighing their options.
The report showed that certain housing markets fared better than others when it came to their breakeven point where buying was cheaper than renting. Zillow factored in all costs associated with buying and renting when compiling the information, including upfront payments, closing costs, anticipated monthly rent and mortgage payments, insurance, taxes, utilities and maintenance costs.
"Locally high home value appreciation in many areas, combined with historically low mortgage rates and low home prices relative to recent peaks, has made buying a home a more advantageous financial decision than renting for many would-be buyers," said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries. "The decision to buy or rent should always take into account a number of factors, one of which is how long a buyer or renter plans to stay in a property. Even in areas with relatively low breakeven horizons, buyers should resist the temptation to buy and sell properties based only on short-term goals."
No bubble in sight
With today's housing market seeing low rates, prices rise and sales increase, Americans can't help but think is it all too good to be true? A recent report from Trulia indicated that it is not and no housing bubble forming.
The report noted that for a bubble to form, home prices have to rise beyond their fundamental value. Trulia says that the actual value of a home is based on supply, demand and expectations of where the housing market will be in the near future.
According to the report, home values are actually undervalued by 7 percent across the nation. When comparing this to pre-bubble levels, it is glaring that today's housing market is not in a bubble. Trulia indicated that homes were overvalued by 39 percent in 2006, just two years before the market collapsed.
"Home prices fell so much after the last bubble burst that they still remain below normal levels even as prices rise sharply today," said Jed Kolko, Trulia's chief economist. "Several forces are waiting in the wings that should slow down today's rapid price gains before they rise into bubble territory again. More inventory, higher mortgage rates, and fading investor activity would each take home-price gains down a notch."
When you’re making the decision to refinance, there are several things to keep in mind.
First, if your current interest rate is significantly higher than today’s lowest rates, you may be able to roll your loan costs into your new mortgage and still get a lower rate than you have, thereby reducing your interest payments and lowering your monthly payment immediately.
Second, if you are planning to stay in your home for at least three to five years, it may make sense to pay “points” (a point equals 1 percent of the loan amount) and closing costs to get the lowest available rate.
And third, you can avoid laying out cash and still get a low rate by adding the points and closing costs to your new mortgage. Does that mean shouldering a lot of extra debt? Not necessarily. If you’ve had your current mortgage for at least three years, you’ve probably reduced your balance by several thousand dollars. So you may be able to tack your closing costs onto your new loan and still end up with a mortgage that’s smaller than your original loan—with a lower interest rate and lower monthly payment.
You also may want to consider lowering the term of your loan to pay off your home sooner. This option may raise your monthly payment, but may save you a substantial amount of interest over the term of the loan.
You also may want to consider a fixed-rate loan, which has an interest rate that is fixed for the entire term of the loan, as compared to a variable-rate loan, which has an interest rate that can increase or decrease based on the short-term indexes.
Contact your Academy Mortgage Loan Officer to see if refinancing is a good option for you.
Choosing a Loan Program
There isn’t a single or simple answer to the question: “Which loan program should I choose?” The right type of mortgage for you depends on many different factors, including:
Your current financial picture.
How you expect your finances to change.
How long you intend to keep your house.
How comfortable you are with your mortgage payment changing.
For example, a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage can save you many thousands of dollars in interest payments over the life of the loan, but your monthly payments will be higher than with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. An adjustable-rate mortgage may get you started with a lower monthly payment than a fixed-rate mortgage, but your payments could greatly increase when the interest rate changes.
The best way to find the “right” answer is to discuss your current finances, your financial prospects, and your preferences frankly with an experienced mortgage professional, and make sure you analyze all of your options. Contact your Academy Mortgage Loan Officer today.