As America’s home owners and home builders celebrate National Homeownership, lower interest rates and home prices are boosting housing affordability across the country.
According to the latest NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index, 66.5% of new and existing homes sold between January and the end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $65,800.
This follows a similar improvement in affordability at the end of 2014, making now a great time for consumers to buy a home.
While today’s historically low interest rates are helping home buyers find affordable housing options, it’s important to keep in mind that interest rates are sensitive to market forces and can change quickly.
There’s no indication that rates will suddenly surge upward, but even a slight rate increase can push monthly payments to the point that a buyer might miss out on their first choice for a new home.
First-time home buyers also can find help qualifying for a mortgage as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently announced new low-downpayment mortgage programs geared primarily toward the first-time home buyer market.
These lenders will now offer mortgages with 3% downpayments, allowing more creditworthy borrowers who lack the funds for a large downpayment to obtain a home mortgage.
Benefits of Homeownership
As housing affordability continues to improve, now is a great time to discover the many benefits of homeownership, including the fact that homeownership is a primary source of net worth for many Americans, and is an important step in accumulating personal financial assets over the long term.
Although property values have declined in many markets, Americans have more than $10.8 trillion of equity in their homes, and for most families, home equity represents the largest share of net worth.
Homeownership strengthens communities as well as families.
Home building increases the property tax base that supports local schools and communities. When a family owns their home, it is an asset that has a direct impact on their financial security and future. People are more likely to take care of things they own so they remain valuable. And a home’s value is determined by how well it is maintained as well as by the condition of the neighborhood it is located in. So home owners have incentive to spend their time and resources improving their neighborhood, even if it is just to protect the value of their investment.
Homeownership builds stronger communities, provides a solid foundation for family and personal achievement and improves the quality of life for millions of people.
Chad D. Collins, Accredited Master Builder
An area native, NC Licensed General Contractor, National Association of Home Builders Master Certified Green ProfessionalTM, and Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, Chad is one of less than 50 Accredited Master Builders in the state. He achieved this professional designations after years of experience and numerous hours of coursework via the NC Builder Institute. Chad has been an active member of the building industry since the early 1990’s. He joined the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Durham, Orange, and Chatham Counties in 2005. Chad was soon named HBA Recruiter of the Year and he subsequently chaired various HBA committees. Chad is a Licensed Home Inspector, as well as, a Licensed Lead Abatement professional.
In addition to industry awards in recognition of excellence in home building and remodeling, Collins Design-Build has twice been named Building Company of the Year via the HBA’s Triangle Sales and Marketing Council MAME (Major Achievements in Marketing Excellence) Awards. The company has also received a Best Green Built Home STARS Award from the NCHBA. Currently, Chad serves as 1st Vice President of the HBADOC, and recently completed one of Durham’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) residential projects. LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, projects must satisfy pre-requisites and earn points to achieve various levels of achievement.
In 2014 Chad was selected as the HBADOC 2014 Builder of the Year and recently honored at The International Builders Show in Las Vegas as the NAHB’s Certified Green Home Professional of the Year.
This post was written by Chad Collins