Buying a home today makes no financial sense, according to housing experts
It has never been a worse time in America to buy a home instead of renting, according to new research from CBRE, a global real estate service.
The average monthly payment on a new mortgage is now 52% higher than the average rent. That’s the biggest difference ever recorded and much higher than the previous peak of 33% before the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008.
Under normal circumstances, buying and rental costs should be roughly equal, according to Matt Vance, who heads multifamily research at CBRE. In this environment, people would buy a home once they had enough money saved for a down payment.
That equilibrium was disrupted before the subprime mortgage crisis when rock-bottom interest rates and ample housing supply made it more affordable to buy.
But now, with 30-year mortgage rates climbing toward 8%, purchasing doesn’t make much financial sense for the average American.
Housing affordability crumbles
With mortgage rates at 23-year highs, financing a new home purchase has become impossible for millions of Americans.
Average household income needs have doubled since Covid to afford a home at today’s prices and mortgage rates, according to Redfin. Buyers must earn about $115,000 in actual income to afford a standard home, which now costs $430,000.
Black Knight, a mortgage analytics firm, puts these numbers into perspective. At current rates, the average monthly mortgage payment is over $2,300, inclusive of interest and the principal balance.
More than one-half of new mortgage buyers pay over $2,000 monthly toward their mortgages, and nearly one-quarter are forking over $3,000 in monthly payments.
It’s no wonder mortgage demand is tanking.
Earlier this month, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported that mortgage application volumes fell to their lowest since 1996. Applications for new home purchases plunged 22% year-over-year.
Rental market is shifting, but remains expensive
Average rent prices have soared since the pandemic, but there are signs that the market is finally stabilizing.
The average monthly rent fell by 2% in September to $2,011, according to apartment finder rent.com. It marked the sixth consecutive month where year-over-year price growth was less than 1%.
Of course, rent prices vary drastically across the country. Median rental costs are above $2,400 in the Northeast and West and around $1,400 in the Midwest.
The rental market suffers from the same supply constraints as single-family homes, and experts say the problem has made housing less affordable for low-income renters.
According to the National Low Income Housing Association, the shortage of affordable housing units now stands at 7.3 million.