WASHINGTON – Nov. 30, 2011 – The monthly cost of owning a home is more affordable now than in the past 15 years, and is less expensive than renting in numerous cities, according to The Wall Street Journal’s third-quarter survey. www.ScottSorensonRealEstate.Com
Low home prices mixed with low mortgage rates – hovering at 4 percent or lower – create an appealing buyer’s market, analysts say. For example, buyers today have a 77 percent increase in their borrowing power compared to 1991, according to Dan Green, a loan officer with Waterstone Mortgage in Cincinnati. He says that in 1991 a $1,700 mortgage payment allowed a borrower to take out a $200,000 mortgage; today, at current interest rates, the homebuyer can get a $350,000 loan for that same monthly mortgage payment.
In 12 our of 28 cities tracked by The Wall Street Journal, monthly mortgage payments on a median-priced home – including taxes and insurance – were lower than the average rent levels.
In Atlanta, owning was the most favorable compared to renting. The monthly rent on a median-priced home there was $539 during the third quarter (with a 20 percent downpayment) compared to the average asking rent, which averaged $840, according to data provided by Marcus & Millichap.
Nationwide, apartment rents are expected to rise by about 4 percent this year, which may make the owning vs. renting picture tilt even higher, according to some analysts.
Despite the appealing housing picture for homebuyers, some continue to stay on the sidelines, unable to sell their current home, qualify for a mortgage due to the tighter credit requirements or keep a steady job, housing experts say.
Source: “Stronger Lure for Prospective Home Buyers,” The Wall Street Journal (Nov. 26, 2011)