Renting Versus Buying: 2011

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Renting Versus Buying: 2011
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This year California housing market conditions make a strong and compelling case for homeownership. With prices still well below the historic highs of just a few years ago and attractive mortgage rates, qualified buyers have a unique opportunity to own their own home. As seen below, a rigorous analysis of renting versus buying hears this conclusion out. As shown in the following chart, the monthly housing costs (principle, interest, taxes, and insurance or PITI) associated with buying a median-priced home of $301,430 is $1,590 (Fourth Quarter 2010 median priced home in California). This assumes the buyer is making a 20 percent downpayment and financing with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 4.62 percent. In comparison, the median rent on a three-bedroom two-bath apartment with renter’s insurance in California is $1,810. That means buying a home would save the homeowner $220 per month when compared to renting and the homeowner would save over $2,600 a year.

                        click on graph for larger view In addition, existing tax laws allow homeowners to itemize and deduct the mortgage interest and property taxes from their taxable income. For example, compare the tax implications for two households both earning $63,430 a year, the minimum income required to purchase the statewide median-priced home of $301,430.* The household that purchases the home with a 20 percent downpayment and finances the mortgage at the current rate of 4.62 percent will receive a tax deduction of over $14,000 in the first year of ownership. The renter household will most likely utilize the IRS Standard deduction of $11,400, $2,600 less than their homeowner counterparts. The homebuyer reduces their total tax liability by $400 compared to the renter in the first year of ownership. Accounting for the out-of-pocket savings as well as the tax savings, the homebuyer saves over $3,000 in their first year of ownership. 10/17/2011

Renting Versus Buying: 2011

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                         click on graph for larger view

The mortgage rate is a significant factor in determining just how much a homebuyer can afford. Today’s low mortgage rate environment tips the scale—for some—in favor of buying versus renting. For a home priced at $400,000, with a 20 percent downpayment and a 4 percent mortgage rate, the monthly PITI will be $1,990 for the homebuyer. The monthly PITI jumps to $2,180 at 5 percent and to $2,380 at 6 percent. For each one percentage point increase in the mortgage rate, the payment goes up by almost $200 under these assumptions. Even for a lower priced home at $200,000, the difference in the monthly payment is significant as each percentage point rise in the mortgage rate tacks on $100 to the monthly PITI.                        click on graph for larger view

Of course, there are many other socioeconomic benefits that homeownership brings to communities. And there are other costs associated with homeownership above and beyond the downpayment and monthly PITI. So as long as one has considered all of the costs and benefits of owning a home and is in the financial position to do so, there are some pretty compelling reasons to strive for the “American Dream.” Other resources you may find useful for your clients: NY Times Interactive Rent versus Buy calculator:’s questionnaire for potential homebuyers on whether or not to buy a home: 10/17/2011

Renting Versus Buying: 2011

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The National Association of REALTORS® resources for clients on renting versus buying:

  *Assumptions: 1. Underlying assumptions for the Mortgage Interest Deduction and Property Tax (1 percent of the purchase price) deduction are based on the Traditional HAI Q4-2010 assumptions of: The prevailing median price in the 4th quarter 2010 (Median Price $301,430), effective FRM interest rate of 4.62%, a 20% downpayment, and a $241,144 loan amount. 2. Incomes are based on the underlying assumptions for the Traditional HAI. The same income is used for both Renters and Buyers and is assumed to be the Minimum Qualifying Income needed to purchase a median priced home in the 4th quarter 2010. 3. Tax rate based on 2010 IRS Schedule Y-1 Married Filing Jointly in 15% tax bracket (latest available from the IRS) assuming no changes over the 5 year horizon 4. Interest deduction based on the Traditional HAI Q4-2010 underlying effective FRM interest rate of 4.62%, a 20% downpayment, and a $241,144 loan amount. 5. Property taxes are assumed to be constant over this 5 year analysis, thereby assuming the underlying market value remains unchanged. If the home value were to increase, under Proposition 13, the property tax assessment would increase at a rate of 2 percent per year. Along these same lines, income is also assumed to be constant over this 5 year analysis in order to keep the analysis simple and determine the basic 5 -year tax benefit of buying a home in 2010.
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