This could possibly be the worst marketplace for a first-time homebuyer, consultants say
Buying your first home is always a big decision. It’s even bigger when the market has been as hot as it has been for the past two years.
Financial advisors say this could be the worst homebuyers market we have ever seen and are warning customers to potentially wait.
Certified financial planner Rick Kahler, founder of the Kahler Financial Group in Rapid City, South Dakota, expected the coronavirus pandemic to cool a real estate market that has been rising for a decade.
“I told a customer 18 months ago not to buy a house, but he did,” said Kahler, who lives in Rapid City. “Of course I was totally wrong.”
The pandemic has not only not cooled the hot housing market, it has also propelled it up. At the end of September, the average home price in the US was $ 377,000, according to real estate agent Redfin. That’s 14% more than the same month last year, and a staggering 30% from September 2019, when the average home sales price was $ 291,000.
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The reasons for the increase are obvious.
“Interest rates are at all-time lows, demand for homes in the pandemic is high, and there aren’t enough homes for people to buy,” said Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin, noting that the fewest homes have been in the past decade originated in the US built since the 1960s.
“The forces at play in the market are still there,” added Fairweather.
Fairweather expects rates to rise 60 basis points next year, but with the national average annual rate on FHA-approved mortgages on Oct. 13 of 3.63% according to Bankrate.com, that would still be a low rate. It also does not believe that the construction industry will be able to correct the housing supply / demand situation in the foreseeable future due to a shortage of materials and labor.
“I don’t think house prices will go down next year,” said Fairweather. “We are in a sellers ‘market and we are very far from a buyers’ market.”
Current homeowners sit in the Catbird seat. If you “overpay” for a new home, you can make up for it by selling your old one. For first-time home buyers, however, this is a different story.
“This could be the worst market for a first-time homebuyer I’ve ever seen,” said CFP Sheryl Garrett. “Do not rush to buy a house.”
Garrett, founder of the Garrett Planning Network, says some people are driven to own homes for the wrong reasons.
“Our society has the mentality that if you don’t own a house, you’re a nobody,” Garrett said. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of when renting a house.”
(Editor’s note: Garrett owns a house in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.)
Unfortunately, rental costs are also rising, albeit not to the same extent as apartment prices. According to data from Redfin and RentPath, a digital marketing website, the nationwide median rent across all sizes of apartments and houses rose 13.1% over the past two years.
If you were thinking of buying a house now, I would postpone it for a year.
Founder of the Kahler Finance Group
Despite underestimating the housing market 18 months ago, Kahler also advises first-time buyers to be patient.
“If you were thinking of buying a house now, I would postpone it for a year,” he said. “Prices have increased by 20 to 30% in the past 18 months.
“Renting may be a better option now,” he added.
Like Garrett, Kahler sees people buying houses on the impulse without paying enough attention to the involvement involved.
“Buying a home seems to be in our DNA,” he said. “People make decisions emotionally – and these can often be bad decisions.”
If you are determined to buy a home in this area, Kahler and Garrett suggest that you consider the following:
- Don’t take more home than you can afford. Set yourself limits and stick to them. “I see people spending $ 400 to $ 500 a month too much to get what they want,” said Kahler.
- Keep your monthly housing costs (including taxes, insurance, and expected maintenance) at a manageable percentage of your income. “I like 25% of the income limit,” he said.
- Hire a trustee as your agent, not one to serve both sides of the transaction. “Real estate transactions can be done quickly,” says Kahler. “You need someone you can contact for a reality check when counter-offers come up.”
- Make sure you plan to live in the home and the neighborhood for long periods of time, Garrett suggested. “A tenant can just pack and move,” she added. “If you own the house, you could be stuck in it for months or years.”