Inflation has been the word du jour of late, and we all feel it. My ah-ha moment was when I filled up my tank a few weeks ago at my favorite gas station, and gas was $6 a gallon! We are not alone in this pain, as folks are feeling this worldwide. According to an energy data tracking company, gas prices in the U.S. ranked 70th among the 170 counties tracked. For our friends in Germany, gas is pushing $9, while in Hong Kong, it’s over $11!
Having been a mortgage professional in Sacramento for two decades, I get asked a lot, “Is this the right time to buy?” and second most popular question, “What’s your rate?”. These are excellent questions, as I, too, seem to always focus on the financial benefits of homeownership. Thankfully, my new homebuyers remind me daily that owning a home is not a purely financial investment but a life-changing event. It provides stability for your family in a neighborhood you love and creates lasting memories as you turn that house into your home.
I am strongly inclined that you are reading this blog because you have been considering buying a new home. And I suspect the current economy might be putting a damper on those dreams. Are you basing this mood on emotion and fear? Have you considered the actual benefits of owning your piece of the pie? With home prices way up and inflation increasing the cost of life’s basic expenses, is now the right time to dive into your first mortgage? And if you wait, could you be priced out of the market altogether? You might not be entirely surprised by my answer. If you are ready for a long-term commitment and can comfortably afford the monthly mortgage payment and ongoing homeownership costs, then YES, YES, YES. It may be your perfect time to buy.
Let me hit you with some financial data regarding inflation and buying versus renting. According to a Stanford University study (January 2020), residential real estate has historically been an “investment safe-haven” during inflationary periods. In addition, during another moment of surging inflation (the 1970s), home prices rose relative to the size of the economy. Great news for homeowners since it meant their home’s increasing value helped offset rising costs elsewhere.
For my renters who have been stalking the market but are now not sure they want to buy, I always ask, “Is your rent going down?” According to CNN Business, rents in Sacramento jumped 19.5% from 2020 to 2021. For those wanting to make the leap to owning a home, “rising rents will remain a motivating factor even as for-sale home prices and mortgage rates continue to climb,” said Danielle Hale, Realtor.com’s chief economist.
With home prices seeing such a jump over the previous few years, I have to drive the point with my new buyers that few of us are lucky enough to find our dream home the first time. So, think about compromising to find that sweet, happy medium instead of trying to get everything you want. The power of homeownership starts with your first purchase, and buyers have to start somewhere so they can eventually get to where they want to go. So, reach out to your favorite realtor to find that balance between home size, neighborhood, price, and all the bells and whistles.
Is Buying a Home a Hedge Against Inflation?
Homeownership, for many, is the ultimate American dream. Of course, people may not want to own a home for many reasons, but there’s no denying that being a homeowner can hugely impact your net worth. According to a CNBC.com article (Sept 2020), in 2019, homeowners in the U.S. had a median net worth of $255,000, while renters had a net worth of just $6,300. Let that soak in for a minute.
However, don’t think this answers all your financial needs. Buying a home is a big deal and not something to take lightly. Take your time to review the financials with your realtor, your mortgage person, and possibly a financial planner. Owning a home is a big responsibility to pay for and maintain. If you don’t feel you can stay rooted in that home for at least a few years, then renting might be the best route.
The above information is for educational purposes only. All data, loan programs, and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans are subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for complete eligibility requirements on tax deduction.