Looking to become a homeowner? It has become even harder to purchase a house in the last 90 days. The information that is discussed in this article is outside typical challenges buyers face when buying a house such as credit, down payment, monthly payment hurdles, conventional loan versus FHA loan, and mortgage rates. But the focus of this post is to discuss the external influences of the housing market that we cannot control whatsoever.
Housing Starts (New Homes)- Decreased 6% in January to 1.580 million units. Existing home inventories fell 16.4% or 1.1M homes (1.9 months worth of homes). Record-setting low since 1999.
Soaring Lumber Prices- Prices have tripled in the last 90 days to where the price of 1,000 board feet peaked at $1,004.90. For a 1,000 square foot home, you would need 6,300 board feet to complete. That would be just $60,000 to frame your home.
Compared to just 4 short months ago it would have cost you $30,000 or $491 per 1,000 board feet. 100% increase in 4 short months. And it would add an additional 30% to the sales price of a $100,000 home.
Remember: Homebuilders typically have margins between 20% and 40%. For example: If the builder has a target margin of 30% on each home then the pass-through costs to you the buyer would be 60%. And the math behind that is their margin of 30% plus the increase in lumber costs in relation to the sales price of the home. To make things simple that would total $60,000 additional you would have to pay on a home that used to sell for $100,000
Housing Prices are En Fuego- For a single-family home in the USA, it will cost you $266,222 to purchase a home. That same home in January 2020, would have cost you $244,000, an increase of $22,000 or 10%.
Now, I can hear some of you saying that is only 10%, but let’s look at it this way. What does that additional $22,000 cost you over the life of your loan? Have a guess? You will pay an extra $11,358 over the life of your 30-year loan at a 2.99% interest rate. What could you do with the extra $$$$?
To sum it all up: The housing market is overpriced, supply is WAY DOWN, and demand is through the roof. So, what do you do if you are in the market for a home? Start looking outside the traditional channels that most buyers search in. A few channels that I could suggest are:
Look for homes in up and coming neighborhoods that are run down (The ugliest house on the block)
REO’s- Work with a local Realtor to locate any REO’s (Real Estate Owned) properties that are being sold by lenders.
Foreclosures- Even though this channel is not hot right now it would not hurt to take a look at them to see what prices are going for in the neighborhoods you want to live in.
Note Purchase- This is a channel that is not covered very much, but it is a viable one if you know how to buy notes (A.K.A. Mortgages) from lenders directly.
I hope this post helps shed a bit of light on the housing market and the external influences that we all face becoming homeowners. I know purchasing a house is the largest investment you will make in yourself, but remember one thing: Do not fall in love with buying a home until the math works in your favor, and your monthly mortgage payment fits into your budget. There are other houses out there it will just take some time to find the right one for you. Good luck and happy house hunting!