As 2011 comes to a close, I pose the question I asked 9 months ago, should you buy or keep renting? It is a question I hear almost daily from first time homebuyers and those who lost homes when the housing bubble burst. Well, I have some good news!
Since my article in February of this year, the affordability rate is basically unchanged and mortgage rates are even lower. For the 3rd consecutive year, the national Home Affordability Index (HOI) surpassed 70 percent. And for those of us living in Sacramento the numbers are even more promising at 80 percent.
The rankings for all 225 metro areas are available online.
Nationally, The HOI indicated that a near-record 72.9 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the third quarter of the year were affordable to families earning the national median income of $64,200. The affordability measure rose slightly from the 72.6 percent set last quarter and has remained above the 70 percent threshold for 11 consecutive quarters. That’s a noteworthy statistic because, prior to the streak, home affordability rarely topped 60 percent nationwide.
We are finally experiencing some consistency in a market that is more affordable for the new home buyer, but we still have some contraction left and values will probably go down a bit further. So please, before you go scratch that itch, make your list of pros and cons of ownership versus renting. Remember none of us so-called ”experts” have all the right answers. In fact, many of us were dead wrong as the blind lead the blind into the housing bubble years ago. As I have stated before, the great recession was the kick in the mouth we needed to prepare ourselves for the next cycle of boom and doom. Let’s hope we can avoid the doom this time.