The Affordability Question: When is the Best Time to Buy a Home?
There is an old adage used for investors looking to buy stocks: Don’t try and time the markets. For some reason, this thinking has spilled over into all sort of events in our lives. But when it comes to the best time to buy a home, time has very little to do with it. But affordability does.
I recently heard that Millennials now outnumber the Baby Boomer generation, their ranks swelling to just over 79 million. I wondered what that would do to buyers who are considering when the best time to buy that first house might be and will there be enough homes available? Will they be affordable, a question that has to do with more than pricing? Even at the breakneck pace of home building in my neck of the woods (Central Oregon: Bend, Sunriver, and Caldera Springs), it doesn’t seem possible. And I suppose this makes first time home buyers a bit anxious.
What does “Affordable” mean?
The real question is not whether there will be enough homes available but whether there will be enough affordable homes. Current statistics suggest that about two-thirds of the homes being built or on the market qualify as affordable.
Affordable comes with certain qualifications, such as favorable mortgage rates (these have been holding steady despite the information suggesting they should be rising), good credit scores (according to Credit Karma, that the largest group of loan applicants falls into the 580 to 699 range, considered good), and a household income of $63,000 (based on the latest available statistics for Oregon, the average is closer to $48,000).
While a 30-year fixed mortgage can be budgeted for – hence the word fixed – the unknowns are often what make owning a home less affordable. Taxes in the area you are considering living pay for services that make the community desirable. These will continue to rise and are difficult to predict or budget for. Utilities and the cost of upkeep also play an ever-rising role in a home’s affordability.
But there are some things you can do once you do decide to buy a home. Get your finances and creditworthiness in order well in advance of beginning the search. Make a budget based on assumed costs and see if you can live with them under your current incomes. Carefully explore the neighborhood(s) you want to live in. And above all, be prepared to get a little less than your HGTV dream.
The Bottom Line
There will always be a “right” time as long as you are entering the process fully prepared to deal with the unknowns. Purchase what you can afford and not what can be arranged. If your financial situation is right, waiting for more favorable rates or better prices is not advised. I can help you determine when the best time for you to buy a house but I can’t fix what you haven’t attempted to repair.
How can we assist you today?
On behalf of The Jones Group @ Sunriver Realty
Nola Horton-Jones, Principal Broker/Realtor | ABR, C-RIS, e-PRO, GREEN, RSPS, CCIM Candidate
Bryce Jones, Broker/Realtor | ABR, CRS, e-PRO, GREEN, GRI, RSPS, SFR
Karen Marcy, Broker/Realtor
The Jones Group @ Sunriver Realty | 57057 Beaver Drive | Sunriver, OR 97707
Mobile: 541-420- 3725 | Mobile: 541-420- 4018 | Mobile: 503-327- 9611 | Fax: 541-593- 5123
Licensed in Oregon