Keeping you informed on market statistics, real estate news, and events around town

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Breaking News: U.S. Will Remain a Nation of Homeowners


The U.S. will not become a nation of renters; there are just too many benefits, both financial and otherwise, to own versus rent. That’s according to the combined findings of several recent studies presented during the “Buyer or Renter Nation?” session held during the 2011 REALTORS® Conference & Expo last week.

An analysis over a 31-year period across 23 metropolitan areas compared the ownership benefits in terms of appreciation and interest deductibility and the costs homeowners incur with down payment, taxes, insurance and maintenance. When it was assumed that renters reinvested any savings in rent (versus a higher monthly mortgage payment), maintenance and down payment, renters had a greater portfolio than buyers in 91 percent of the areas examined. However, when the model allowed renters to spend any savings rather than reinvest those savings, 84 percent of buyers came out ahead.

“We knew that homeowners, on average, accumulate more wealth than renters,” said Ken Johnson, editor, Journal of Housing Research at Florida International University. Johnson spoke at the session and conducted the analysis with Eli Beracha. “These findings indicate that homeownership is a self-imposed savings plan. Not everyone should own a home, but from a financial perspective, people who are planning to stay in a property over the long term can benefit from buying.”

According to the most recent data from the Federal Reserve Board, a homeowner’s net worth is 45.9 times that of a renter’s.

Another analysis conducted by Johnson, Beracha, Hilla Skiba and Mark Hirschey determined that housing affordability is at record levels.

Twenty-three states are at 30-year record levels of affordability based on price-to-income ratios, and all 50 states are at 30-year record affordability levels based on mortgage payment-to-income ratios.

“Homeownership is more affordable today than at anytime over the last 30 years,” said Johnson.

Beyond the financial advantages of homeownership, Johnson also cited several studies that have demonstrated how homeownership enhances civic pride, improves voter turnout, increases personal happiness, reduces crime, and provides a better familial environment.

“These findings are no surprise to REALTORS®,” said NAR President Ron Phipps. “We, like the nation’s 75 million homeowners and many other who aspire to one day own a home, know homeownership is an investment in the future of our families, communities, and nation. That is why we will continue to fight for public policies that promote responsible, sustainable homeownership; we believe that anyone who is able and willing to assume the responsibilities of owning a home should have the opportunity to pursue that dream.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Bank owned moving quickly in Eagle County

Sales of bank-owned properties and “short” sales are driving the county's down valley real estate market.

In the lower valley, and especially in Gypsum, there are some bargains available. One bank-owned property is worth more than $180,000 on the county's property-tax rolls. It's on the market at $104,900. An older single-family, one-bedroom home there is listed for less than $90,000.

There were 132 completed real estate sales in the county in September, the highest one-month total since October of 2008. But three years ago, those sales totaled more than $165.3 million. The total for September of this year was just less than $83 million. In fact, September's sales volume was only 35 percent of the total recorded in September of 2010 on 18 fewer sales.

Bank-owned property — about 20 percent of September's total — seems to be moving pretty quickly.

In the Vail Multiple Listing System there are currently a total of 29 Bank owned properties listed for sale as of 11/10/2011. Bank owned can be a perceived value but Buyers should also consider there is value in regular properties for sale.