Homeownership is an important part of the American way of life, and there may never be a better time to buy than today.
With the country still emerging from the recent recession, many people wonder if this is a good time to buy a home.
The answer is easy: Yes. It’s a very good time to purchase a home.
There are many opportunities in today’s market including affordable prices, low mortgage rates and great new homes. But market conditions can change, and these opportunities may not be around for long, so home buyers shouldn’t wait.
And despite the housing downturn, home owners still place high value on owning a home, and recommend homeownership to others.
According to a 2012 poll*:
- 96% of home owners are happy with their decision to own, and even 84% who owe more on their mortgages than their home is worth, expressed the same sentiment.
- 79% of home owners would advise a family member or close friend just starting out to buy a home, and 69% of those who are underwater on their mortgage would offer the same advice.
- 74% said that despite the ups and downs in the housing market, owning a home is the best long-term investment they can make.
An excellent selection of homes on the market makes today a very good time to buy. A plentiful inventory provides a great choice of homes, and there are builders that have brand new homes that are “move-in ready.”
Additionally, many owners of existing homes who postponed trading up or downsizing due to market conditions are now ready to sell. And as employment improves, the number of relocations will increase, bringing more homes into the market.
If there’s a silver lining to the recession and the housing downturn, it’s that homes in many markets are more affordable. Prices in some areas have moderated significantly, especially in major markets where they increased the most during the housing boom that occurred in most of the country.
Low Interest Rates
Like inventory and pricing, mortgage interest rates are still at very favorable levels, but rates are sensitive to market forces and can change quickly. There’s no indication that rates will suddenly surge upward, but even a slight rate increase can push monthly payments to the point that a buyer might miss out on their first choice for a new home.
Prospective home buyers also should be aware that lenders are looking more closely at borrowers today than in recent years. To ensure that the process goes smoothly, buyers should consider pre-qualifying for a mortgage and having financing in place before shopping for a new home. Buyers also may find that some home builders have arranged favorable financing for their customers or offer financial incentives.
Greener and Better
With energy costs near the top of consumer concerns, it’s good to know that new homes can be more energy efficient than ever. Innovative materials and construction techniques mean that today’s new homes are built to be much more energy efficient than homes constructed a generation ago. Not only can they be more affordable to operate, new homes also are significantly more resource efficient and environmentally friendly.
Designed With Buyers in Mind
Designed to accommodate today’s busy lifestyles, new homes feature open floorplans, flexible spaces, improved safety features, low-maintenance materials and other amenities that make them more appealing than ever before.
And in many areas, prospective home buyers who wish to live in age-qualified communities for those 55 and older will find a large selection of homes tailored to the evolving lifestyles of the baby boom generation.
Benefits for Home Owners
Homeownership also provides important benefits to owners.
Tax Benefits: For Home Owners Only
Unique tax benefits that apply only to housing help lower the cost of homeownership. Both mortgage interest and property taxes are deductible. Moreover, for married couples, profits of up to $500,000 on the sale of a principal residence ($250,000 for single taxpayers) are excluded from tax on capital gains.
The Advantage of Leveraging
Leveraging is another advantage of homeownership. A buyer can purchase a home and receive the full benefit of homeownership with a cash downpayment that is only a fraction of the total purchase price. This is called leveraging, and it makes the rate of return on a home purchase greater than on other purchases with the same value, such as stocks, where the buyer must put up the entire price.
Building Personal Resources
For most Americans, homeownership is a primary source of net worth and an important step in accumulating personal financial assets over the long term. Although property values have declined in many markets, Americans have a more than $6 trillion in equity in their homes, and for most families, home equity represents the largest share of net worth.
There Really is No Place Like Home
Although there are many positive financial aspects to homeownership, a home cannot be valued in monetary terms alone. Not only can homeownership be a stepping stone to greater financial well-being, it provides a permanent place to call home and great personal satisfaction.
Academic research also shows that homeownership provides a wide range of social benefits and strengthens the nation’s people and its communities.
Homeownership is truly a cornerstone of the American way of life.
* Survey of 1,500 likely voters conducted on Jan. 2-5, 2012, on behalf of NAHB by Public Opinion Strategies in Alexandria, Va., and Lake Research Partners in Washington, D.C.
While NAHB has used its best efforts to provide accurate information, NAHB makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or comprehensiveness of this brochure’s contents. NAHB specifically disclaims any implied warranties. The information provided in this document may not be suitable or applicable to your unique circumstances. You should consult with a qualified professional when applying this information to your own situation. NAHB will not be liable for any loss of profits or damages, including incidental, consequential, special or other damages.