Last month, in a post on the Liberty Street Economics blog, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York noted that Americans believe buying a home is definitely or probably a better investment than buying stocks. Last week, a Gallup Poll reaffirmed those findings. In an article on the current real estate market, Gallup reports: “Gallup usually finds that Americans regard real estate as the best long-term investment among several options -- seeing it as superior to stocks, gold, savings accounts and bonds. This year, 41% choose real estate as the best investment, up from 35% a year ago, with stocks a distant second.” Here’s the breakdown:The article goes on to say: “The 41% choosing real estate is the highest selecting any of the five investment options in the 11 years Gallup has asked this question.” Is real estate really a secure investment right now? Some question American confidence in real estate as a good long-term investment right now. They fear that the build-up in home values may be mirroring what happened right before the housing crash a little more than a decade ago. However, according to Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs, the current real estate market is strong and sustainable. As Morgan Stanley explains to their clients in a recent Thoughts on the Market podcast: “Unlike 15 years ago, the euphoria in today's home prices comes down to the simple logic of supply and demand. And we at Morgan Stanley conclude that this time the sector is on a sustainably, sturdy foundation . . . . This robust demand and highly challenged supply, along with tight mortgage lending standards, may continue to bode well for home prices. Higher interest rates and post pandemic moves could likely slow the pace of appreciation, but the upward trajectory remains very much on course.” Bottom Line America’s belief in the long-term investment value of homeownership has been, is, and will always be, very strong.
top of page
Homeownership Is Full of Financial Benefits
A Fannie Mae survey recently revealed some of the most highly-rated benefits of homeownership, which continue to be key drivers in today’s power-packed housing market. Here are the top four financial benefits of owning a home according to consumer respondents:
88% - a better chance of saving for retirement
87% - the best investment plan
85% - the chance to be better off financially
85% - the chance to build up wealth
Additional financial advantages of homeownership included in the survey are having the best overall tax situation and being able to live within your budget. Does homeownership actually give you a better chance to build wealth? No one can question a person’s unique feelings about the importance of homeownership. However, it’s fair to ask if the numbers justify homeownership as a financial asset. Last fall, the Federal Reserve released the Survey of Consumer Finances, a report done every three years, with the latest edition covering through 2019. Their findings confirmed that homeownership is a clear financial benefit. The survey found that homeowners have forty times higher net worth than renters ($255,000 for homeowners compared to $6,300 for renters). The difference in net worth between homeowners and renters has continued to grow. Here’s a graph showing the results of the last four Fed surveys:The above graph only includes data through 2019, but according to CoreLogic, the equity held by homeowners grew by $26,300 over the last twelve months alone. That means the gap between the net worth of homeowners and renters has probably widened even further over the last year. Some might argue the difference in net worth may be due to homeowners normally having larger incomes than renters and therefore the ability to save more money. However, a study by First American shows homeowners have greater net worth than renters regardless of their income level. Here are the findings:Others may think homeowners are older and that’s why they have a greater net worth. However, a Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University report on homeowners and renters over the age of 65 reveals: “The ability to build equity puts homeowners far ahead of renters in terms of household wealth…the median owner age 65 and over had home equity of $143,500 and net wealth of $319,200. By comparison, the net wealth of the same-age renter was just $6,700.” Homeowners 65 and older have 47.6 times greater net worth than renters. Bottom Line The idea of homeownership as a direct way to build your net worth has met the test of time. Let’s connect if you’re ready to take steps toward becoming a homeowner.
The housing market made an incredible recovery in 2020 and is now positioned for an even stronger year in 2021. Record-low mortgage interest rates are a driving factor in this continued momentum, with average rates hovering at historic all-time lows. According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index Survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), buyer demand across the country is incredibly strong. That’s not the case, however, on the supply side. Seller traffic is simply not keeping up. Here’s a breakdown by state:As the maps show, buyer traffic is high, but seller traffic is low. With so few homes for sale right now, record-low inventory is creating a mismatch between supply and demand. NAR also just reported that the actual number of homes currently for sale stands at 1.28 million, down 22% from one year ago (1.64 million). Additionally, inventory is at an all-time low with 2.3 months supply available at the current sales pace. In a normal market, that number would be 6.0 months of inventory – significantly higher than it is today. What does this mean for buyers and sellers? Buyers need to remain patient in the search process. At the same time, they must be ready to act immediately once they find the right home since bidding wars are more common when so few houses are available for sale. Sellers may not want to wait until spring to put their houses on the market, though. With such high buyer demand and such a low supply, now is the perfect time to sell a house on optimal terms. Bottom Line The real estate market is entering the year like a lion. There’s no indication it will lose that roar, assuming inventory continues to come to market.
bottom of page