In fact, home prices need to rise 38%, or mortgage rates need to rise to 7.9%, for us to get back to the normal ratio of homeownership costs to income. It doesn’t matter how you define homeownership costs. As long as you use a consistent definition, homeownership is cheap!
Assuming our leaders in DC come to some sort of agreement that keeps the economy growing and interest rates low, which seems like the most reasonable assumption, here is what will happen:
- Investors: Investors and, yes, even flippers will continue to grow in numbers as they realize housing is the best risk-adjusted return on their money.
- Boomerang buyers: Foreclosed homeowners, who are currently renting homes, will come back in droves. In Phoenix, they are paying $1,300 in rent for a home whose mortgage payment would be $1,000. That situation is not sustainable. The Federal Housing Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs have low down payment programs with insurance premiums that push rates near 5.0%. Those payments are still very affordable.
- Entry-level buyers: First-time homeowners, who have been sitting on the sidelines waiting for a sign of the bottom, will hear about price increases in their desired neighborhood and rush to become homeowners.
- Move-down buyers: Empty nesters and retirees, who have plenty of equity in their existing home, will buy a home that is more suitable to their current lifestyle, which may or may not include adult children as well as their aging parents.
- Moveup buyers: The price appreciation that occurred in the last year has already lifted 1 million underwater homeowners above water, and future price appreciation will lift even more.
The Big Picture is:
- Housing is cheap
- People prefer to own
- Get ready for a surge in home prices!