The math is truly daunting for would-be homebuyers: The difference between the mortgage payments and rents is the largest it’s been since the 2006 housing bubble that led to the Great Recession.
Factoring in an assumed 10% down payment on newly purchased home, the National Multifamily Housing Council says a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage payment costs a whopping $1,176 more than renting an apartment, as of the end of 2022.
“Rapid home price appreciation in recent years coupled with rising interest rates has caused the monthly cost of homeownership to rise far more than both the cost of rent and other consumer goods,” said the National Multifamily Housing Council, a trade group for the apartment industry.
The cost of owning a home has soared 71% in three years — an average of about 20% per year, compared to an average annual rent increase of 6.3%.
This week — in the wake of banking collapses that have pushed benchmark Treasury rates lower — mortgage rates fell for the second consecutive week, with the average 30-year fixed mortgage falling 18 basis points to 6.42%.
Higher rates have thrown cold water on home sales, to the extent they fell 12 consecutive months before February’s stunning 14.5% month-over-month surge in existing home sales.
“If mortgage rates continue to slide over the next few weeks, look for a continued rebound during the first weeks of the spring homebuying season,” said Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater.
February new-home sales rose 1.1%, to the best pace since August. Meanwhile, February’s median sales price of a new home was $438,200, according to a report from the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That’s up 2.5% from the previous February.
“Home shoppers are looking to find the optimal combination of prices and mortgage rates before entering the market,” Hannah Jones, economic analyst at Realtor.com, told Bloomberg. “However, elevated rates and high prices mean that point doesn’t yet exist in the market for many would-be buyers.”
While the cost of homeownership remains stubbornly high, rent inflation has been on a steady nine-month cooling trend, with the yearly growth rate easing to the lowest point since 2021.
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