As we watch the economy rebound, real estate sales have been a strong indicator of overall economic health.
As we anticipated, fast, cash only sales are declining. As the real estate market improves and inventory declines we are poised for rising home prices just as interest rates are increasing. With this in mind it may start to look like you could be priced out of the housing market. However, some believe now is the perfect opportunity for first time buyers to get their foot in the door before the end of 2014.
Home prices are still off their high
Home prices are rising, but considering how far they fell in 2008 there is still some great deals to be had. According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, average U.S. home prices are currently at summer 2004 levels.
As the economy improves, first time home buyers will likely see significant appreciation in the years to come if they are able to get in now before both prices and rates increase.
Interest rates are expected to keep rising
Although interest rates are still very low, they are rising. Some experts believe that rates could reach 5% by the end of 2014. A percentage point here and there may not seem like a lot but even a small bump in interest rates can mean a significant jump in your monthly payment.
A good example: consider a $400,000 mortgage at 4.2%. You will pay about $300,000 in interest on a 30-year mortgage. Increase that by a mere .7% (4.9%) and your overall payback increases by more than $60,000 over 30 years, that is more than $360,000 in interest alone!
Rental costs are also rising
This is where the first time home buyers need to really think about the costs of home ownership. While there are compelling reasons to rent rather than buy, these reasons are usually personal in nature, i.e. you move around a lot, your job location changes, etc. A good rule of thumb when you feel like it is time to put down roots is to consider the price/rent ratio, your buying power and the local housing market.
Overall, you should look at your personal finances and really consider if buying is right for you. It may not be, but consider that experts believe that it is unlikely the housing market will be as appealing next year. Interest rates and home prices are both likely to be considerably higher and you may indeed find yourself priced out of the market in more ways than one.
If the time is right for you to buy a home Vermont Properties can help you find your home on or off Okemo Mountain, in the Lakes Region and the Okemo Valley. Stop by and say hi!