The secret about home ‘affordability’ they don’t want you to know- Good for Apartment Building Investment

Home prices have crashed. Interest rates are at all-time lows. If you’re in the market to buy, homes are more affordable than they’ve been in years. Or are they?

From a WSJ report posted by Motley Fool:

The median down payment in nine major U.S. cities rose to 22% last year on properties purchased through conventional mortgages. … That percentage doubled in three years and represents the highest median down payment since the data were first tracked in 1997.

The average down payment for a US home is now 20%

Up 22%! yowza! More from MF:

The average home in America now sells for $272,000, so a 20% down payment totals about $55,000. The median household net worth, meanwhile, was $67,000 in 2010, suggesting the average homeowner needs to tie up a tremendous amount of their net worth in a down payment. Can you really afford to part with that much of your savings? Is it money you might otherwise need for an emergency fund, or saving for college tuition? Would it be better off somewhere else? There’s a real cost of sinking that money into a house that can’t be ignored. This is especially true when you detach yourself from the widely held belief that housing will make a good investment over the long run. As famed Yale housing economist Robert Shiller told me in an interview last year, that’s just not the case. [Emphasis mine]

Back in the day when you could get 98% or 100% financing for your home there really wasn’t an opportunity cost for buying a house now there is; the average homeowner needs to write a check for $55,000.00 to buy the average home which is 82% of their net worth for an ‘asset’ that may not appreciate in the foreseeable future. No wonder there were 1,000,000 plus new renters last year.

See the whole Motley Fool piece here: Housing May Not Be as Cheap as It Looks

Hat tip: Barry Ritholtz at TBP blog



4 thoughts on “The secret about home ‘affordability’ they don’t want you to know- Good for Apartment Building Investment”

  1. Hi there! Is buying better than renting? If so, then I should be able to buy a house and have it pencil out as a rental. Here in a better part of San Diego, that is impossible with a single family home at this point. Obviously, I’m not saying that renting forever is better, but as of now, it makes way more sense than buying.

    1. James, I can’t speak to San Diego specifically but the true cost of owning a house is more than just the mortgage payment vs. the monthly rent. Owning includes the cost of taxes, insurance, maintenance and setting aside funds for major capital expenses like a new roof, furnace/AC, appliances, painting, etc. Over the long term houses have appreciated at about the rate of inflation… before the above listed costs. So the real return on owning a home is the peace of mind that comes with living in a house the bank owns. If your employment is local and will remain in the area while paying an acceptable wage then owning makes sense, provided you can come up with the 20% down payment and can qualify for financing… and if home prices are done falling; other than that renting makes a lot of sense-

  2. We have been seeing that same trend up in Ottawa. Prices of homes are going up and as an effect sales are going down. It makes sense why there are so many more renters now then before.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.