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It is Better to Rent Than Buy

07 Sep 2018

Posted by Joseph Coupal

HHHunt ApartmentsIt is easily the question most asked by anyone moving into their first home or downsizing into retirement. Should I buy or should I rent? For nearly a decade the answer has been buy. The crash in home prices, combined with record-low mortgage rates made buying and owning a home both cheaper than renting one and a better investment.

Now, the tide has turned.

Fast-rising home prices and higher mortgage rates have shifted the calculation to rent. The monthly costs of buying and owning a home that you occupy are up 14 percent over the past year, more than three times the annual increase in rent rates nationally. Rents are up just 4 percent. The number of local housing markets where it is cheaper to rent than buy is growing by the day.

Even setting aside big upfront expenses like a down payment, rising month-by-month costs are likely keeping many people from purchasing. Today only 41 percent of people live in a county where the median income family can afford to buy a home at the median list price, and affordability declined significantly over the past year.

Home prices fell dramatically following the financial crisis and the subprime mortgage crash. Millions of homes went into foreclosure and were sold off at bargain-basement prices. Home values finally bottomed out in 2012 and then began to take off. In the last three years, the gains accelerated dramatically, and now homes in most of the nation are worth more than they were at the inflated peak of the housing boom in 2006.

It's normal. Housing is an early cycle sector. Interest rates are low, incomes start to grow, so in an early cycle environment you can buy, but in a later cycle, interest rates go up, home prices go up, it's harder to buy.

The recent acceleration in home prices has been due to a supply imbalance in the market: too much demand and too little supply. That has shifted the equation back to rent, even though rents have increased a lot in the last few years.

According to July home and rent prices, buying a home was cheaper than renting in just 35 percent of the nation's counties. That is down sharply from 44 percent just one year ago.

And it's not just cheaper to rent, it may also now be a better investment. Renting and reinvesting the savings from renting, on average, will outperform owning and building home equity, in terms of wealth creation. That is the first time renting outperforms buying since 2010.

In 16 of the 23 major metropolitan markets covered in the research, renting is a better investment than buying.

So what does all this mean for the wealth of average Americans and the health of the housing market?

Since home ownership has historically been an important source of household wealth creation, it could be problematic if this trend continues for too long. Still, even in places where renting is currently more affordable, rising home prices provide wealth-building opportunity for home buyers.

Since home ownership has historically been an important source of household wealth creation, it could be problematic if this trend continues for too long.

As for home prices, the shift pulling demand away from buying and toward renting will likely cool overheated home prices. In fact, that is already happening. For the first time in several years, in July, the supply of homes for sale was not lower compared to the previous year. It was flat. In addition, while home prices are still rising, they are rising at a slower pace, meaning sellers are starting to see demand fall off a bit, as buyers hit an affordability wall.

Absent some major outlying disaster, home prices are highly unlikely to fall, at least not nationally.

For more information on apartments, contact HHHunt.

#HowYouLive

CNBC

Millennials Aren't The Only Ones Renting Apartments

14 Aug 2018

Posted by Joseph Coupal

HHHunt Apartments

Renters are getting a little older these days.

Rental applicants tend to conjure up images of recent college grads looking to start their life in the real world. But Millennials are being joined as renters by people who have already spent decades in adulthood, and may have better credit and higher income.

Since 2005, there has been an uptick in renters, with people in their 50s and 60s making up the largest chunk of the increase.

In fact, the majority of all renters are currently 40 or older.

There are many reasons that the renter population includes a growing number of Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers.

The 2008 housing collapse that led to a wave of foreclosures has turned some people off to homeownership. The tight credit market can also hinder renters from securing a home loan.

Plus, not everyone wants to be a homeowner in their golden years, and the decision to trade a mortgage for a lease is about a new lifestyle, especially for empty-nesters.

Seniors are leaving their homes and renting in a much more urban-type settings from the suburbs to be part of the activities and be mixed in with people of all ages. It gives them something to do if the kids are gone, or their spouses.

The amenities that come in new rental buildings and their units are appealing to older renters. They have everything they need in their building.

Renting also gets rid of the responsibilities that come with home ownership, which can become burdensome as owners age.

It's about portability. They want to travel and don't want to be burdened by house payments and expenses and upkeep.

Some older homeowners are also cashing in on the recent rise in home prices.

They want to take advantage of getting equity out of their home now, and not wait until they actually retire to move into the city and get a cool apartment.

For more information on apartments, contact HHHunt.

Source: CNN Money

Signs You May Not Be Ready to Buy a Home

08 Aug 2018

Posted by Joseph Coupal

HHHiunt Apartment

Buying a home can be a good investment. It can be a rewarding experience for you and your family.

But the fact is, it isn't right in every situation and it only works if the buyer is financially prepared. As we saw during the housing crisis, buying a house when you aren't ready can lead to disastrous results.

How can you tell if you're ready? The experts at real estate marketplace Trulia suggest asking yourself some questions.

The first has to do with income. Does your household earn enough money to make the monthly payment on a home, pay for insurance, pay the taxes, and cover maintenance and repairs?

When you rent your home, all of those costs are baked into the monthly rent. If the water heater goes bad, that's the landlord's problem, not yours.

It's true that, with low interest rates, a mortgage might be the same, or even less than rent in some markets. But you can't overlook the other costs of owning a home.

Debt-to-income ratio

What about your debt? If you have outstanding student loans and rising credit card balances, you might not be ready to take on a mortgage. In fact, that could be one thing that might disqualify you.

Lenders look at a borrower's debt-to-income ratio. If the ratio is too high, it reduces the amount you can borrow. In most cases, a lender will want your debt to be no more than 36% of gross income.

When looking at your savings, don't just think about how much you need for a down payment. If the down payment takes all your ready cash, you'll have nothing left to cover those expenses that almost always crop up in the first year of home ownership.

Two important factors

Before considering a home purchase, you also need to make sure you will qualify for a mortgage. Two factors could keep that from happening.

First, you need to have been on the job, or employed in the same industry, for at least two years. Lenders want to see that employment consistency before they'll consider funding your home purchase.

Second, you need a reasonably good credit score. While it is true you might qualify for a subprime mortgage with a marginal credit score, there could be some real disadvantages to being lumped into the subprime sector.

Having a better credit score -- 720 or better -- will get you a better interest rate, in most cases. So it might be wise to spend some time trying to raise your credit score before considering a home purchase, and the easiest way to get started on that is to simply pay all of your bills on time.

Finally, give some thought to the future. If you purchase a home, you'll need to live in it for a while before you can sell it without losing money. The experts at Trulia suggest three to five years is the minimum length of time you'll need to live in it before selling.

If you think there's a good chance you'll be relocating in a couple of years, the prudent thing to do is keep renting.

For more information, contact HHHunt.

Source: consumeraffairs.com

The Rent or Buy Debate Doesn't Make Sense

31 Jul 2018

Posted by Joseph Coupal

HHHunt Apartments

When you buy a home, you pay for things you don’t have to pay for as a renter: loan interest, property taxes, insurance, and even maintenance and repair costs. That’s part of the argument in favor of renting: there are so many additional costs and factors that get overlooked. That goes for both sides, though, and the details vary depending on the situation. Here are a few commonly overlooked factors that make up the specifics.

  • How long you’ll live in the home: This varies depending on the market, but in general, the longer you’re in the home, the better, because your costs are spread out over time.
  • The cost of housing in your area: In most cases, people rent because houses are just too expensive, but it all depends on the market in your area. If renting is extremely costly in your area, it might be more affordable to buy a home.
  • The opportunity cost of your taxes and insurance: What kind of long-term return could you get if you invested this money instead, in the stock market, a CD, or even a “high interest” savings account?
  • The opportunity cost of your down payment: Similarly, how much of a return could you get if you invested that lump sum instead?

It’s impossible to say renting or buying is a better decision because each one of these factors (and more) depends on your unique situation. You have to consider where you live, what kind of house you’re looking for, how much you pay in rent, how much you’ll pay in the future...the list goes on and on.

A Rent vs. Buy calculator is a great tool for simplifying these complexities, depending on your own individual specifics. Still, a calculator can only do so much. It might tell you the better long-term decision on paper, but that still doesn’t mean it’s the best decision for you.

Your Home is a Purchase, Not an Investment

Most experts agree that you shouldn’t think of your primary home as an investment. Contrary to popular belief, real estate barely outpaces inflation over time. Sure, you could time the market, flip a house, or buy a rental, but that’s different from expecting your primary home to earn you a sweet return. The investing myth is another valid argument against buying. Many people buy homes they can’t afford or stretch their finances to pay for expensive home projects because they buy into this myth.

The bottom line is: sometimes it’s smarter to rent, and sometimes buying can work in your favor. Rather than giving in to one side or another, it’s more helpful to learn the rules, crunch the numbers, then do what works—and feels right—for you.

For more information, contact HHHunt.

#HowYouLive

Excerpts: twocents.lifehacker.com

Buying or Renting: 3 Myths To Consider

25 Jul 2018

Posted by Joseph Coupal

HHHunt ApartmentsIs it time to move? Should I continue renting? Should I be house or condo hunting? If you’re starting to ask yourself these questions, you’re also likely turning to friends and family for advice, too. Before you’re swayed one way or the other, consider these three myths often thrown into the buying or renting debate.

Myth #1: You should buy in a buyer’s market.

Buyers beware. Never purchase a home based solely on the market. Just because the market looks good, does not mean it’s good for you. Your first step should be identifying where you stand financially. Determine how much you can safely afford to spend each month on housing or you may be at risk of living beyond your means.

Myth #2: If you own a home, you’ll benefit from the tax breaks.

This is not always the case. While the interest and tax property portions of your mortgage payment may be tax deductible, home improvements, home insurance and losses on the sale of a home are not and never have been tax deductible.

With the recent tax law changes, when it comes to purchasing a home, interest on only the first $750,000 of your mortgage will be deductible. And keep in mind that many states do allow renters to deduct a portion of their rent from their state taxes.

Myth #3: You’re throwing money down the drain by renting.

While this can certainly be a tempting way to think, it is not necessarily true. By choosing to rent, you are satisfying your need for shelter. You have a roof over your head, but unlike purchasing a house or condo, you’re not responsible for the day-to-day upkeep.

When renting, you also benefit from flexibility. You can change apartments much more quickly than you can sell your home, and the money you may have been putting towards mortgage payments is free to be funneled into other investment opportunities.

To help guide your decision, here are some things to consider (both good and bad) about buying or renting:

Rent:

  • Not paying for your own mortgage
  • Not responsible for major upkeep
  • Subject to landlord rules (i.e. pets, smoking, painting, parking)
  • Flexibility in terms of moving
  • Up-front Costs: Security deposit, First and Last

Buy:

  • Building equity
  • Responsible for all upkeep
  • Your rules go
  • Pets welcome
  • May lose value
  • Up-front Costs: Large down payment, cash to cover closing costs, moving expenses, emergency fund
  • Best to stay put for at least seven years

Choosing whether to purchase a home or continue renting ultimately comes down to your financial standing and personal preference. What may be right for your neighbor may not be right for you. That said, be sure to make an educated decision and don’t be fooled by some of the myths around this ongoing topic!

For more information on apartments, contact HHHunt.

#HowYouLive

plymouthrock.com

Homeownership in Retirement can be a Dangerous Prospect

17 Jul 2018

Posted by Joseph Coupal

HHHunt ApartmentsDespite the benefits of homeownership, there's one huge drawback to owning property in retirement, and it's committing yourself to a variable expense while living on a fixed income. Even if your mortgage itself is paid off by the time you enter retirement, you'll still have property taxes to contend with. And those have a tendency to rise over time, even during periods when home values don't follow suit.

There's also maintenance and repairs to think about, and that's where a lot of retirees who own homes get into trouble. The average homeowner spends 1% to 4% of his or her home's value on standard annual upkeep. Now being a retiree doesn't automatically mean you'll own an aging home. But if yours is on the older side, you should plan on hitting the top end of that range, which could really eat into your limited budget.

Furthermore, while that 1% to 4% range applies to regular maintenance, it doesn't include major repairs that could spring up on you without notice. I'm talking about things like your heating system going kaput or a pipe bursting in your basement -- expenses that could really hurt you financially when your income doesn't allow for too many surprises.

And there lies the danger of owning a home in retirement: You just don't know what to expect. And while renting certainly isn't without risk -- you could see your rent go up from year to year or find yourself suddenly on the hunt for a new home when your landlord unexpectedly decides to sell -- when you rent, you lock yourself into a fixed cost for the duration of your lease. Sign a series of long-term, affordable leases, and you eliminate much of the worry that comes with owning.

Ultimately, the decision to own a home during retirement boils down to how much risk you're willing to take on. If you love your home, adore your neighborhood, and don't want to deal with the hassle and uncertainly of renting, then by all means, stay in your home. Just make sure you have a decent chunk of savings -- both emergency and otherwise -- to protect yourself from the various unknowns involved.

For more information on apartments, contact HHHunt.

#HowYouLive

NWI.com

Buying a Home Could be a Bad Career Move

11 Jul 2018

Posted by Joseph Coupal

HHHunt Apartments - Buy or Rent

American dream or ball and chain? We’ve heard so many times that homes are the ultimate investment, but your job advancement and long-term salary potential could be hindered if you’re tied down.

Most of the time, the buy-vs.-rent debate revolves around which is the best financial decision. That’s for good reason: As you’ve undoubtedly heard more than once, buying a home is the biggest purchase you’ll probably ever make. Most people need to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars to make it happen.

It’s not a decision to make lightly, and the numbers involved are something you need to take seriously — especially when the adage that buying is always better than renting is a myth, not fact.

In some cases, you shouldn’t buy a home because it’s not the financially sound choice. Taking on a large amount of debt for the long term after shelling out that much cash up front could put you in a precarious financial position.

But let’s just say the numbers do check out for you, and you want to buy a home. In that case, you still need to consider one other factor that might make buying a bad choice: your career.

The Finances Check Out, But That Still Doesn’t Mean You Should Buy

At worst, buying a home could sabotage your career opportunities. Even in a less-dramatic situation, your house could seriously limit how much you could advance in your career — and affect how much money you can make.

Owning a home reduces your flexibility to pursue jobs and opportunities that may make it easier for you to build serious wealth over your lifetime.

For many people, committing to living in a single location for years could seriously interfere with their ability to grow their career, expand their business, and earn more money.

It’s Difficult to Move to Follow Career Opportunities

It’s hard enough to move from one place to another when you rent. But moving as a renter is considerably easier than moving as an owner, because you can’t just up and leave any time you want when you own your home. As a renter, you always have the ability to break your lease if you need to.

But as a homeowner, you can’t just call up the bank or anyone else and ask them to take the house off your hands.

If you’re trying to move to chase down a career opportunity, you need the ability to be fast and flexible. Depending on what the real estate market looks like at the time you want to move, that may not be possible.

You Might Not Be Able to Afford to Move

If you bought within the last three years, you sunk a lot of cash into your home. In an average market, it’s unlikely that home prices will have risen to a point where you could break even, let alone make a profit. Unless you’re willing to lose money on the house you might have bought as an “investment,” you might be in a position where you can’t afford to move.

A Lack of Career Flexibility Could Lead to a Lack of Wealth

The inability to move to explore a new position, role or career opportunity could limit your ability to earn a higher income. Taking new jobs or calculated career risks are both great ways to potentially earn more money than to sit at your existing job and cross your fingers hoping for a raise.

When you earn more money, you get to choose how much to save for the future, which puts the power in your hands rather than at the whim of the real estate (or stock) market.

Buying a Home Limits Your Flexibility

Of course, all of this is just something else to think about when you’re making a decision on whether or not to buy. You may not need much career flexibility at all, and that’s fine. But failing to account for this could turn into a big financial mistake.

You do need to understand how buying a home can limit your career flexibility. It can limit your ability to chase down an opportunity if it arose unexpectedly. It also limits your financial flexibility and liquidity over the short term, because it requires you to put a good chunk of your liquid cash into an illiquid asset.

“Less flexibility” is a trade-off you make when you buy a home. Whether that’s acceptable or not is up to you — but the bottom line is that you must think about this factor if you want to make a fully informed, responsible decision around buying real estate.

For more information, contact HHHunt.

Source: kiplinger.com

Renters Create More Wealth than Buyers

03 Jul 2018

Posted by Joseph Coupal

HHHunt ApartmentsWith housing markets around the U.S. nearing the peak in their cycles, renters who reinvest their money have an increasingly better chance at creating wealth than individuals who purchase a home, according to the latest national index.

"On the heels of information concerning slowing housing starts, rising mortgage rates, decreased demand and unsustainable price increases, these numbers provide additional evidence that housing markets around the country are slowing, resulting in many to opt for renting," said Ken Johnson, Ph.D., a real estate economist and one of the index's creators in FAU's College of Business.

Of the 23 separate metro areas, many are nearing the top of their current housing cycle, meaning they are above their long-term pricing trend.

The biggest contributor to the rising cost of ownership is rising house prices.

The current scores driving the markets in the direction of renting and reinvesting appear to be the results of higher mortgage rates, increase in returns, on average, in the stock market, and the cost of ownership, which includes your mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc.

All of these costs are rising faster than the cost of renting a comparable property. Therefore, renters who take the money they're saving each month and reinvest it are going to build wealth faster than those who buy a home, on average.

For more information on apartments, contact HHHunt.

#HowYouLive

prnewswire.com

The Upsides to Downsizing

26 Jun 2018

Posted by Joseph Coupal

HHHunt Apartment HomesDownsizing sometimes gets a bad rap. Upon hearing the phrase, many people automatically assume that downsizing is something negative, but in reality, there are plenty of positive aspects to scaling down from your current home. From having less to clean to being free from other obligations of having a larger home, there’s a lot to look forward to when downsizing.

On the other hand, leaving a beloved home can be tough. But with the right mindset and a plan in place, transitioning to a smaller living space becomes less painful.

What follows are some of the best aspects of downsizing and bright spots to look forward to when transitioning to a smaller home.

There’s Less to Maintain

Owning and maintaining a home is a lot of work. There’s endless cleaning that needs to be done, repairs that need to be made and upkeep that needs to be completed. With a smaller living space, that list of chores and to-dos around the house dwindles, leaving you with more time to focus on the things you enjoy.

It Can Help You Shop Smarter

Artful advertising designed to influence consumers and encourage impulse buys are just about everywhere these days. Anyone can fall prey to something that looks like a good deal or sounds like something they “need” and be influenced by clever and strategic marketing. But when living in a smaller place, you’ll need to become more critical about what you purchase in order to avoid clutter.

Redecorating Opportunities Abound

Redecorating can be a lot of fun -- even more so when there’s a brand new space to work with. Downsizing gives you the opportunity to redesign your space, come up with new concepts and get creative with your storage spots. That can mean experimenting with different setups, getting creative and investing in furniture that doubles as extra storage to save on space.

Help is On Hand

One of the clearest benefits to moving into an apartment community is having assistance at the ready. Leaking faucet, leaking roof? No problem, call your leasing office and they'll take care of it.

Socialization and A Sense of Community

When transitioning from an empty home to an apartment community, there are lots of new opportunities to form a community and socialize with neighbors.

For more information on apartments, contact HHHunt.

#HowYouLive

seniorhomes.com

Retirees Should Consider Renting a Home

20 Jun 2018

Posted by Joseph Coupal

HHHunt ApartmentsHome ownership has long held an honored position as an integral part of the American dream.

But when retirement time comes, rethinking that dream could be in order. Sometimes renting an apartment is the better bet both financially and in terms of the retiree’s changing lifestyle and health.

When people plan for retirement, they focus on things like how much they have saved, how much Social Security will pay, and whether they have pension. But as you get older, you also need to think about such issues as whether you can keep mowing the lawn or handling other day-to-day chores that homeownership requires. If you must hire someone to do them for you, how much will that eat into what may already be a tight monthly budget?

The truth: There’s no answer that will fit everyone’s situation. So, retirees or those approaching retirement, should weigh their personal pros and cons.

There’s a lot to think about. Should you sell the house you raised your family in and downsize to something more suitable for just the two of you? If you’re planning to move to somewhere else in the country to enjoy your retirement, is it more prudent to buy in that new location, or is leasing the way to go to give you more flexibility if it doesn’t work out?

Some things retirees should think about as they ponder the own verses rent question include:

Maintenance issues. When you own a home, every leaky faucet, electrical problem or faulty appliance is yours to handle as best you can. If you can do it yourself, great; but often, these household repairs mean calling in a professional at a sometimes-exorbitant cost. When you rent, it’s up to the landlord or the property management company to take care of the repairs.

Mobility. Selling a house can be a long and complicated process, and you never know what the market might be like when the time arrives. Whereas breaking a lease is much simpler. If your children are scattered all over the country, you may want to move closer to one of them. Also, if your health takes a turn for the worse, selling a home can be a significant burden on your family.

The inheritance. For many people, a house is the most valuable asset in their estate and they might want to leave it to their children in the will. Once again, it’s a matter of weighing the pros and cons. Having a home to pass down to the children is a noble gesture, but it is not always feasible.

Before considering whether owning or renting is the right option, it’s essential to review all the intricacies of your situation and decide based on your finances and your overall health and well-being.

For more information on apartments, contact HHHunt.

#HowYouLive

myvalleynews.com


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