Durant, OK / May 31, 2012
The current housing market offers one of the best opportunities in living memory for Americans to buy a home. The combination of historically low interest rates and low home prices open the door for many first-time buyers to transition from renter to owner.
Currently, interest rates are hovering around the 4 percent mark. The last time rates were this low was 1959, when Dwight Eisenhower still occupied the White House. And home prices in many areas of the country are at levels last seen in 2002-2004. It’s almost as if today’s buyers are able to step into a time machine and take advantage of the low prices of yesteryear. If only we could do that for gas prices!
But before making up your mind whether to buy a home, it’s worth thinking about the pros and cons of owning vs. renting.
I like to think about the comparison of owning vs. renting as similar to the relationship of dating to marriage.
As a renter (or someone in a dating relationship), you have less responsibility and commitment than a homeowner (or married person).
Renters are not responsible for major repairs, such as a broken hot water heater or leaky roof. They are not as tied down to a property, and can pick up and move with fewer complications.
But they lack the independence, authority and feeling of accomplishment cherished by many homeowners.
Owners don’t have to ask anyone if they want to paint their bedrooms pink or purple, and they don’t face as many restrictions on such issues as parking.
Historically, homes have been a sound investment (the recent downturn in the housing market notwithstanding) – prices increased an average of 5.4 percent nationally between 1963 and 2010, even taking into account market highs and lows!
In today’s market, home owners in most parts of the country can actually get more house for the same money as renters, or even pay less in monthly housing costs than renters, especially when tax deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes are figured in.
Homeowners have more connection to their community than renters, and studies have shown that children who live in the same home for a long period of time do better in school than their peers who move more often.
In the end, the choice between renting and owning is very personal. People who plan to move in less than two years might consider renting, because the costs of buying and selling a home in a short period of time can be prohibitive.
But for those who feel they are ready to take the plunge, the timing couldn’t be better. As the economy improves, interest rates will go up, and the dream of home ownership will become just a little harder to attain. So please call or visit our office, or check out our website, and find out more about the programs and loan products available to help you buy the home you desire.
Michelle Castle provides mortgage loans to all of North Texas and Southern Oklahoma. Call Michelle Castle at (903) 892-1998 if you are looking for a home loan in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma.