Existing Home Sales for September was released last week showing sales were down to the lowest in almost 3 years (since November 2015) and missed expectations. However, while inventory remains tight the number of homes for sale are up 1.1 percent year over year and homes stayed on the market for an average additional 3 days this month, up to 32 days. Entry level homes are still seeing competition. The first-time homebuyer slightly increased to 32 percent of sales and the Median Home Price, while still up, is increasing at a slower rate.
Rent prices are up, particularly for single-family properties in vacation hotspots, however, the question in the headlines: Are more folks turning to renting? One article argued YES because of “recent record-high interest rates.” Let’s take a look at history: the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate with Freddie Mac for October 2018 is 4.82%; in October of 1981, the average was 18.45%. Wonder where they got that record high from because where we’re standing, today’s interest rates look welcoming. The real argument, however, surrounds affordability so we looked into the cost of renting vs. buying a similar place in the same area. To rent a two-bedroom, 925 sqft condo in Birmingham, MI it costs $1300. To purchase a similar condo (two-bedroom, 925 sqft condo in Birmingham, MI) that’s newer, the estimated monthly payment including, mortgage, taxes, and insurance, would be less than $1100. If you have the savings, why pay a landlord when you can invest in that home equity? There’s still low-downpayment options available.
While many housing markets are slowing down on the home price front, some are heating up. Battle Creek, MI ranked No. 5 for 10 Surprising U.S. Metros Where Home Values Are Skyrocketing. The city is seeing great jobs posting numbers thanks to its heavy industrial presence, leaving folks buying homes and home prices up almost 21 percent year over year in the area.
Ann Arbor scored the No. 2 spot for Livability’s 2018 Best Places to Raise a Family, thanks to an impressive student-to-teacher ratio in local school districts, night life, family entertainment, parks, and more.