Everyone is ready to buy a home at a different time in their lives, and a health crisis or not, today is no exception. Understanding how affordability works and the main market factors that impact it may help those who are ready to buy a home narrow down their optimal window of time to make a purchase.
There are three main factors that go into determining how affordable homes are for buyers (buying a home guide) :
- Mortgage Rates
- Mortgage Payments as a Percentage of Income
- Home Prices
The National Association of Realtors (NAR), produces a Housing Affordability Index, which takes these three factors into account and determines an overall affordability score for buying a home. According to NAR, the index:
“…measures whether or not a typical family earns enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a typical home at the national and regional levels based on the most recent price and income data.”
Their methodology states:
“To interpret the indices, a value of 100 means that a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home. An index above 100 signifies that family earning the median income has more than enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment for buying a home.”
So, the higher the index, the more affordable it is in buying a home. Here’s a graph of the index going back to 1990:The green bar represents today’s affordability. We can see that buying a home are more affordable now than they have been at any point since the housing crash when distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) dominated the market. Those properties were sold at large discounts not seen before in the buying a home – housing market.
Why buying a home are so affordable today?
Although there are three factors that drive the overall equation, the one that’s playing the largest part in today’s homebuying affordability is historically low mortgage rates. Based on this primary factor, we can see that it is more affordable to buying a home today than at any time in the last seven years.
If you’re considering purchasing your first home or moving up to the one you’ve always hoped for, it’s important to understand how affordability plays into the overall cost of your home. With that in mind, buying a home while mortgage rates are as low as they are now may save you quite a bit of money over the life of your home loan.
If you feel ready to buying a home this season may save you significantly over time based on historic affordability trends. Let’s connect today to determine if now is the right time for you to make your move.
Homebuyers Are in the Mood to Buy Today
According to the latest FreddieMac Quarterly Forecast, mortgage interest rates have fallen to historically low levels this spring and they’re projected to remain low. This means there’s a huge incentive for homebuyers who are ready to purchase. Homebuyers Guide: And homeowners looking for eager buyers can take advantage of this opportune time to sell as well.
There’s a very positive outlook on interest rates going forward, as the projections from the FreddieMac report indicate continued lows into 2021:
“Going forward, we forecast the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to remain low, falling to a yearly average of 3.4% in 2020 and 3.2% in 2021.”
With mortgage rates hovering at such compelling places, ongoing homebuyers interest is bound to keep driving the housing market forward. Rates also reached another record low last week, so homebuyers are in what FreddieMac is identifying as the buying mood:
“While the rebound in the economy is uneven, one segment that is exhibiting strength is the housing market. Buying a home demand activity is up over twenty percent from a year ago, the highest since January 2009. Mortgage rates have hit another record low due to declining inflationary pressures, putting many homebuyers in the buying mood. However, it will be difficult to sustain the momentum in demand as unsold inventory was at near record lows coming into the pandemic and it has only dropped since then.”
There’s no doubt that even though homebuyers are ready to purchase, it’s hard for many of them to find a home to buy today. Mortgage rates aren’t the only thing hovering near all-time lows; homes available for sale are too. With housing inventory as scarce as it is today – a nearly 20% year-over-year decline in available homes to purchase – keeping homebuyers in the buying a home mood may be tough if they can’t find a home to buy (See buying a home Guide graph below):