I keep hearing it over and over again…Denver area rental rates continue to rise and are getting even more difficult to find and secure. Vacancy is very low, so there is a lot of competition for the good places, and landlords can afford to not only be more picky about who they rent to, but can also increase monthly rent as well as required deposits.
I guess it’s the same in other parts of the country as well, according to this article from MSNBC…
Falling home prices have sent many would-be buyers to the sidelines. If all goes well, record low interest rates and rising rents may soon prompt some of them to take a second look at buying.
Unfortunately, that’s a big “if,” according to Paul Diggle, a housing economist at Capital Economics.
Much of the decision to buy a house still depends on your personal finances and preferences, your career or family life, or level of financial security.
But if you’re comparing just the cost of owning and renting, buying a house may soon be the better choice, according to Diggle.
Until recently, home ownership was no bargain compared to renting, according to his analysis. A 33 percent drop fall in home prices, a plunge in mortgage rates and 15 percent rise in rents since the housing crash has evened the scales. Today, the median monthly mortgage payment of about $700 has fallen to about the level of a median monthly rent check. If mortgage rates keep falling and rents keep rising, the equation will tip even further toward owning.
But that analysis doesn’t include the total cost of owning versus renting. A full accounting includes closing costs, maintenance, insurance and property taxes, tax savings from mortgage deductions, gains or losses from home equity, among other factors. Renters have to think about broker fees and future rent hikes. Both have to make assumptions about future trends in housing prices and rents.
When you take those factors into account — which Diggle has done with a homegrown “calculator” — someone who plans on staying put for seven years would come out ahead by about $9,000 if they bought a median-priced home rather than being a tenant in a median-priced rental. Diggle’s calculation assumes that rents keep rising by about 3 percent a year and that house prices stay flat in 2012 and 2013 and begin rising in 2014 at about 3 percent a year.
If house prices fall further, all bets are off, said Diggle. In that case, the renters come out ahead.
“At the moment, (that) downside scenario is more likely to materialize than the upside one,” he said.
Even if Diggle’s calculator were to signal a “strong buy” for home ownership, he doesn’t expect that would spark a buyers’ stampede. Most first-time buyers or households who lost a home to foreclosure don’t have the 20 percent down payment many lenders are insisting on. They may also have trouble getting a mortgage without a credit score of 700 or more — a higher bar than the 650 score that was the norm for the past two decades.
“A large share of the population has dropped out of the pool of potential buyers,” he said. “Given that the choice between owning and renting a home is a luxury than many Americans simply do not have, the fact that this does appear to be the time to buy will have only a minimal effect on actual sales. Accordingly, we expect only a modest housing recovery over the next few years.”
If you would like to talk about the possibility of buying a home instead of renting in the Denver metro area, contact me!