There are few things that Bham Realty loves as much as we love helping you buy and sell houses. A close second passion of ours
Only a few short weeks until the World of Games makes its 2022 debut in our very own Magic City! Is it the Olympics? What
You just found your dream home. You’ve always wanted to live in a humble cottage on a bit of land, surrounded by a white picket
Everest versus interest rates; which is the worst hike of 2022? In trail lingo, the effects of the 2020 and 2021 interest rates could be
As the housing market is getting out of control, and it’s impossible to get a home we even like for a reasonable price: many are turning to custom home building. Not only does going custom ensure that every inch of the house is built to your liking, but it also ensures that you can pick the price it’s built at instead of settling for what’s available in your price range on the market.
These are some of the best custom options to consider and why they’re so popular.
Creative Roofing Tiles
The roofing tiles you pick will change not only the color scheme of your home but how well protected it is and how long your roof will last. To create the perfect roof, you should try to find something like slate roof shingles that will last for over fifty years, come in a multitude of colors, and will protect your home from the weather, insects, and rot. If you’re putting this much money into creating a unique vision of a house: you should try to ensure that the property will last as long as possible.
Uniquely Beautiful Windows
No one window is perfect for every home. Your property’s windows should reflect what you want to look at every day. Do you have a gorgeous forest outside? Fantastic city views? A lovely lawn that you want to see more of? Don’t be afraid to be inventive with windows and go for shapes or styles that may not seem like the ordinary look we all expect. This could mean window replacement inserts or windows that open differently than most traditional windows, don’t be afraid to go for new things.
Siding That Stands out
What type of siding do you want to see? Think about the style that interests you, what looks are unique in your area, and what will keep your home safe and well insulated. Like the planning behind finding a good roof that will look great on your property, you should put some serious thought into how your roofing will be perceived. Don’t be afraid to go for more unique looks, like board and batten siding that’s becoming quickly popular; this is your home, and it should be aesthetically pleasing for you.
It’s a solid idea to ensure that this siding is well-made, though, and strong enough to handle the temperature and weather fluctuations in your area. Although you may like the look of natural wood siding, it can quickly rot and allow insects and moisture into your home. It’s okay to be picky.
Wood or Metal That Matches
One good sign of a well-made home is that the features throughout it match and make sense. For example, if you have beautiful bronze throughout your home, you should continue that in details like your windows, fireplace, and knobs and handles. Allowing this natural progression of finishes to match your home ensures that it feels like one unit and is attractive in a timeless way. The same is true with wood colors and finishes! Keeping your house from clashing room to room will allow it to age gracefully even sixty years down the line.
Floors That Last
Speaking of longevity: floors are an investment that can change how you feel about your home in a manner of years. You can use natural wood, but it will eventually scratch, dent, and deteriorate and need to be refinished. A better option is faux wood floors, which last longer. Newer faux wood looks like the real thing while also giving you the chance to ensure your roof lasts as long as possible and keeps its iconic look. You can still get it in a range of hues and shades, but this will save you money and protect you from regretting your choice any time soon.
Natural Lighting to Make Spaces Larger
Natural lighting is as important to a home for aesthetics as it is for the eco-friendly lighting it offers. Although you can have unique and custom windows: try to find as many ways to allow natural lighting in as possible. This will ensure that you don’t have to have your lights on during the daytime to make a space beautiful and that your home will feel connected to the outdoors without having to have an entire wall missing. Large windows also allow for rooms and areas to feel larger than they would otherwise, which will be fantastic for your decor and increase your home’s selling value.
Make Your Home Into A Piece of Art
Your home, however you make it, should feel like art that you can live in. This space should make you feel comfortable and relaxed while also giving you the chance to show off your great design taste to whomever visits. This is your home, and it’s not a bad thing to let yourself take pride in it!
Max Shafer is a freelance writer that loves sharing his knowledge and expertise on real estate. He lives in Land O’ Lakes, Florida where he enjoys spending time with his wife and researching real estate trends in his free time. Max’s work as a freelance writer can be found on Building Product Advisor, a new construction industry resource launching in Fall 2022.
Why does it matter when the FED raises interest rates?
30 Year Mortgage rates are currently sitting at 7.150%. Up 229%, from 3.11% in January 1, 2022.
Here’s an example of how interest rates affect homebuyers in your market.
In January 2022, a home buyer with a budget of $1,250 a month and a 3.5% down payment. Would be able to purchase a home up to around $300k.
Today, that same buyer paying $1,250 a month and putting 3.5% down, would only be able to afford a $192k home.
Great… People can afford less, what does this mean for my market?
Let’s look at a couple memorable markets from 2008.
These numbers are taken from the market peak to the market bottom.
2008: Home Prices were 9x the average annual wage.
Average cost for a home $334k.
2011: Home prices plummeted to 4.1x the average annual wage.
Average cost for a home $164k.
Which means Miami real estate plunged 49% in the ’08 recession.
Since the bottom, Miami has gradually increased back to a ratio even higher than in 2008. Sitting at 9.4x the average annual wage. Average cost for a home of $470k.
Miami’s historical average sits at 6.2x average annual wages. Which could mean a drop of $158k, a 33% decline in home prices.
2008: Home Prices were 8x the average annual wage.
Average cost for a home $291k.
2011: Home prices plummeted to 3.4x the average annual wage.
Average cost for a home $133k.
Which equates to 45% drop in home prices
Phoenix was one of the markets that was absolutely hammered in ’08 recession. The average home price in Phoenix didn’t return to the previous levels until January 2020.
Phoenix’s historical average sits at 5.4x annual wages. Phoenix sits at 8.5x the average annual wage, $472k average home value. Which could mean a drop of $171k, a 36% decline in home prices.
How does Birmingham housing market fair?
2008: Home Prices were 4.8x the average annual wage.
Average cost for a home $165k.
2011: Home prices dropped to 3.5x the average annual wage.
Average cost for a home $137k.
Leaving Birmingham Natives to lose a modest 17%.
Birmingham fully recovered from ’08 recession by mid‐2018. Currently Birmingham sits at a 4.7x price to annual wages, or average price of $247k.
Birmingham’s historical average of price compared to annual earnings stands at 3.9x. Assuming markets eventually revert to the average. Birmingham could see a drop of an average of $40k, which is a 17% drop.
Our beloved Iron City ranks #3 in the nation. Falling short to Pittsburg and Oklahoma City.
What about in terms of inventory?
August 2016: 6,798
August 2022: 2,570
Inventory is remarkably 62% lower than 2016 levels.
August 2016: 17,328
August 2022: 16,250
A minimal 6.3% lower than 2016.
August 2016: 45,296
August 2022: 22,800
A large 50% reduction in inventory.
Strongest Birmingham markets based on Housing Inventory declines YoY
1. 35203, ‐48% Inventory
2. 35209, ‐44% Inventory
3. 35226, ‐3% Inventory
Weakest Birmingham markets based on Housing Inventory increases YoY
1. 35228, +258% Inventory
2. 35235, +163% Inventory
3. 35005, +138% Inventor
Blonde, cold brew, iced, steamed. Birmingham has you covered no matter how you prefer your cup of joe. There are plenty of options with over a dozen coffee shops in the city. Feeling overwhelmed? No worries, Bham Realty has prepared a list of our favorites and why you should give them a try.
A shop that is close to our hearts (literally.) This Birmingham gem is located just a block from the Bham Realty office. You can catch us swinging in the doors of revelator on our lunch break or before the work day begins. The large windows allow a ton of natural lighting that adds to Revelator’s light and airy feel. Great coffee, and a lot of space to get your studying and work done.
If you’re hoping to catch a study spot at either one of Red Cat’s locations, you better get a head start. It’s very rare for the Red Cat located in Avondale or near Railroad Park to be empty. It’s truly a Birmingham hotspot. The coffee named after breeds of cats and their delicious homemade pop tarts definitely makes up for the lack of study space. Our favorite time to visit this popular establishment is on Saturdays at Avondale. Located smack in the middle of The Pepper Place Market, nothing better to cool you down than an iced coffee.
Brand new to Birmingham, Frothy Monkey is already a fan favorite. The Nashville and Chattanooga loved shop made its Grand Birmingham appearance on June 29th. Located in the old Urban Standard building on 2nd Ave N, they have a lot to offer. Along with amazing coffee, The Frothy Monkey also serves lunch and dinner dishes. Their large menu includes shrimp & grits, pesto pasta, salmon, and coffee served at all open hours.
One of Birmingham’s oldest and most loved coffee suppliers. 7 locations in the Birmingham area, including one in Samford University’s student center. It’s rare to come across a student that hasn’t had a killer study sesh in one of the shops. Serving cups of coffee since 1993!
Located in the heart of 5 Points South, Filter is loved by many. One of the things that set Filter apart from the others is the seating. Up the stairs of the shop, there’s a room with wooden walls and furniture. The room is set apart from the rest of the shop, allowing a perfectly quiet place. If you’re someone who needs caffeine and silence to grind out some work, Filter is the place to be.
This gas station turned coffee shop is all the buzz in Birmingham. The coffee and pastries in this local shop are amazing. The cafe offers indoor and outdoor seating. On the first Saturday of every month, Seeds collaborates with Hattie B’s Hot Chicken to make delicious chicken biscuits. Better get there early, the line is always out the door.
With so many amazing coffee options in Birmingham, this list was hard to narrow down. If you happen to visit one of these mentioned let us know on our Instagram @bhamrealty. Enjoy your cup of joe!
There are few things that Bham Realty loves as much as we love helping you buy and sell houses. A close second passion of ours is our furry friends. Thankfully, Birmingham is incredibly dog and dog-owner-friendly. Being pet owners ourselves, the Bham Realty team decided to take a quick field trip to Birmingham’s newest dog lovers’ oasis. Good Dog Bar and Park, located on 1st Avenue South, opened to the public at the beginning of this month. Say goodbye to rainy-day blues. The park is the only one in Birmingham with a roof that stretches over the entire 10,000 feet turfed and fenced area. Your happy and leashless pet will have access to turfed tunnels to run through, platforms to jump on, and buckets of water to take dips in.
As much fun as this facility offers for your dog, it also offers an abundance of comfort and fun for owners and dog-lovers. The large fans mounted on the ceilings are perfect for the oncoming hot summer days. Picnic tables and chairs allow a great view of the canines at play. The bar located inside the park offers hard seltzers, sodas, wines, and local and domestic beers.
It’s also important to mention the practicality of the facility. “Park Rangers” are always on duty to both keep the park clean and make sure your pup is safe. The park has rules that don’t allow excessive aggression or barking which makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
Our rating? 10/10. Not only did we have a blast, but so did our four-legged friends (pictured below.) These sweet smiles are more than worth the $10 admission fee. The park also offers monthly and yearly memberships. Interested in purchasing a membership? Not so fast! Give us a follow on Instagram @bhmrealty for details on how to enter our giveaway for a chance to win a YEAR membership. That’s a year’s worth of tail wags and zoomies. Give us a follow on Instagram @bhamrealty to stay up to date & learn how to enter!
Only a few short weeks until the World of Games makes its 2022 debut in our very own Magic City! Is it the Olympics? What makes this sporting event different from anything we’ve seen in Birmingham? Stay tuned to find out.
Unlike any other sporting event you’ll see this Summer, The World of Games includes events you can’t see anywhere else. Here are some of our favorite sporting events that are sure to turn heads.
Taking place at the Barber Motorsports Park, Drone Racing is definitely one of the most anticipated events of the games. In this event, pilots will drive their drones around a specially made course that tests both their speed and agility.
Originating from Japan, Sumo Wrestling has made a long journey to Birmingham for the Summer. The full-contact wrestling sport includes 3 classes (light, medium, and heavy) and is sure to be the main event of the 2022 World of Games. For a beginner’s guide, follow the link.
You might have participated in wakeboarding over the memorial day holiday at the lake, but we can guarantee this event is going to be one you don’t want to miss. Taking place at Oak Mountain State Park, there are multiple categories that will be completed within. Trick, jump, and freestyle are just a few of the events taking place within the unique watersports.
Similar to the American-loved sport, volleyball, Fistball consists of a 5-player team whose goal is to strike the ball to the other side of the court without the opponent being able to return the ball. This event will take place at Birmingham-Southen College.
This event, once called ballroom dancing, is one of the most anticipated. The many dances will take place at the BJCC Legacy Arena. Here, multiple styles of dance will be performed and judged. These include but aren’t limited to Rock n’ Roll and Break Dancing.
This is only a small list of the events that will take place at the 2022 World Of Games. We can’t wait to see what the competitors and Birmingham has in store!
Looking for a place to stay during the world of games? iTrip Birmingham has your perfect short-term rental. Call or Click today for more information!
Whether you’re a long-time local or just recently became a resident of the Magic City, finding the perfect Birmingham-themed decor can be a challenge. If you’re struggling to show your love of Birmingham in your home, you’ve come to the right place. The perfect prints and paintings can be found a click away or even down your block.
The Southern Maple
This online Etsy store, based in Hoover, produces some of the most unique pieces you’ll find. Handmade and carved decor that can effortlessly bring the magic of the city into your home.
Prints of the South
A photography and print company based out of Kentucky effortlessly captures the magic of Birmingham. Their online shop offers framed photos of Vulcan, the Alabama Theater, and more notorious Alabama scenes. Follow the link to their Etsy page to shop!
Banners! And prints! and bandanas! Oh my! Amanda Nicholson, owner of Cityfolk Creative, graphic designs and hand-makes a multitude of products that scream “I love Birmingham.” From stuffed Vulcans to magnets, this shop has all the unique pieces. Keep an eye out for more products to go live on their Etsy page, but you can also find Cityfolk Creative at Pepper Place Market!
Yellow Hammer Creative
Home of the “It’s Nice to Have You In Birmingham” print! Yellow Hammer creative has everything you need and more to decorate your home and add to your t-shirt collection. Yell0w Hammer retail shop is located at Pepper Place near Avondale and can also be found at the Pepper Place market (almost) every Saturday!
With these shops, your love for Birmingham doesn’t have to stop at your front door! Bringing the magic of Birmingham into your home is only half the fun of being a resident of the magic city. Who better to support than other residents and lovers of Birmingham? Happy shopping!
You just found your dream home. You’ve always wanted to live in a humble cottage on a bit of land, surrounded by a white picket fence. And you found her. She’s beautiful. Recently renovated. Greenest grass in the neighborhood. And it’s in your budget. What’s the catch? It’s in a flood zone.
Living in the United States, it’s likely that you or someone you know has been impacted by flooding at some point. Even if you don’t live near the coast, it is likely you have been impacted by flooding in one way or another. That’s because floods are the most common natural disaster in our country. As long as there is rain, there is a possibility for flooding. Unfortunately, floods also happen to be the most expensive natural disaster for homeowners to recover from. While living in a flood zone doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed flooding, it does mean that your homeownership might look a little different from others.
In the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a flood is defined as surface water from any source, occurring in at least two acres of two or more properties (can include mudflow). If your house is in a designated flood zone, it means there is increased risk that a flood (as defined by NFIP) will occur. It is important to research what type of insurance you will need. Your homeowners policy on your house will not necessarily cover flood-related damage. For this reason, it is important that you speak with someone who specializes in flood insurance. The average homeowners flood insurance premium is $700. In some areas, such as those that have been victims of floods in the past, premiums can surpass $5,000. It all depends on where you live. The map below is a representation of current flood zone data compiled by First Street Foundation.
While it is evident there are many hot spots in coastal areas, there are plenty of ‘flyover states’ with thousands of designated flood zones as well. Essentially, everyone lives in an area that can flood, some more than others. According to the First Street Foundation, there’s approximately 23.5 million properties at risk of flooding in America.
The chart above shows data from flooding sources local to Birmingham, AL. If your house is in a flood zone, there’s a chance one of these sources may be the cause (though there are plenty of other flood sources as well). Remember, flood zone maps are updated by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) constantly. Just because your home isn’t in a flood zone now doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future.
A recent study from Stanford associate professor Marshall Burke, indicates that single-family homes zoned in floodplains lose roughly two percent of their value. For a $500,000 house, that is $10,500. If you include this in addition to other costs such as insurance, the total price should be pushed down between 4.7 and 10.6 percent! That could mean a total subtraction of $53,000 to the same house! Before you put an offer in, make sure that both you and your real estate agent have thoroughly investigated the lasting impact of living in a flood zone. You could potentially save both time and money through proper research.
So, should you buy that beautiful cottage? Honestly, it’s up to you! As long as you are fully aware of the risks that come with owning a home in a designated flood zone and you are comfortable with paying additional costs, you should still buy your dream home. Just be prepared to fully research the area and the way other surrounding homes have been affected financially.
We may not be able to snap our fingers and get you out of a flood zone, but we certainly can help you choose a home that fits your needs! Shoot us a text or call us at 205.291.8806!
1923 3rd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203
- “A Guide to Buying a House in a Flood Zone.” Rocket Mortgage, https://www.rocketmortgage.com/learn/buying-a-house-in-a-flood-zone.
- “Frequently Asked Questions Learn about Flood Insurance in Alabama.” FAQs – Alabama Flood Insurance, https://alabamafloodinsurance.org/faqs. Martin, Erik J.
- “Buying a House in a Flood Zone.” Bankrate, https://www.bankrate.com/mortgages/buying-a-house-in-a-flood-zone/ Sheridan, Terry.
- “6 Ways to Protect Your Home from Flooding.” Bankrate, https://www.bankrate.com/finance/weather/natural-disasters/6-ways-protect-home-flooding.aspx. University, Stanford.
- “Flood Risk’s Impact on Home Values.” Stanford News, 24 Apr. 2021, https://news.stanford.edu/2021/04/26/flood-risks-impact-home-values/.
https://map1.msc.fema.gov/mipdata/01073CV001D.pdf?LOC=a7a6060d2606fb0c4702b0a149f141b1 (see for most up to date FIS report for Jefferson County)
Everest versus interest rates; which is the worst hike of 2022? In trail lingo, the effects of the 2020 and 2021 interest rates could be comparable to glissading down a smooth, iced-capped mountain top for many homeowners. Millions of Americans pleasantly took advantage of low interest rates by refinancing their homes. Now, we are preparing for an inevitable increase in interest rates, which for some people may feel more like planning a dreadful climb up Mount Everest. As up to six interest rate hikes are predicted to occur throughout the next two years, homebuyers could potentially end up spending tens of thousands more than they bargained for. It is of utmost importance that the 2022 homebuyer adequately understands the impact of increasing interest rates.
As American business magnate Warren Buffet once said, “Don’t pass up something that’s attractive today because you think you’ll find something better tomorrow.” The effect in which this applies to the current real estate market is magnified now more than ever. With record low interest rates in our pandemic-stricken market, the only foreseeable direction for rates to go is up.
But what does that mean for today’s homebuyers?
To answer this question, let’s discuss how these record low interest rates came about in the first place. While the Federal Reserve doesn’t directly control mortgage rates, their manipulation of short term rates directly influences long term rates. The Fed exists for two main purposes: to stabilize prices and secure maximum employment rates. The primary way to achieve these goals is through manipulating the economy with monetary support. Since 2020, the Fed has bought nearly $120 billion worth of bonds monthly in an attempt to boost our economy. While this caused interest rates to drop significantly, inflation rates, in turn, jumped to a level that hasn’t been seen in forty years. The Federal Reserve plans to counteract the increase in inflation by accelerating the removal of monetary support. Consequently, inflation rates are expected to drop and interest rates are expected to rise.
The debate concerning the presence of interest-rate hikes in 2022 is not if, but when and how many. The central bank recently released a projection of three interest-rate hikes this year with up to three more to follow in 2023. Some economists predict the first interest-rate hike will begin within the next four months, but others predict a withholding until summer. Regardless of when one first occurs, it is important to consider how an interest-rate hike will affect homebuyers.
Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at realtor.com, predicts a gradual increase in mortgage rates, likely to hit 3.6% by the end of 2022. That would be a 0.92% jump from mortgage rates in 2020 (as averaged by Freddie Mac). Take a look at the chart below to see how an increase in mortgage rates can affect a homebuyer’s budget (from www.moneyunder30.com).
As shown in the table above, a 1% difference can result in an addition of over $30,000 to the total amount of interest paid. As interest rates increase, affordability decreases. A homebuyer who could once afford a $300,000 house at 3% interest, would only be able to afford a home that costs $265,000 at 4% interest. Alternatively, homebuyers who don’t make proper adjustments are in for a shock. While the monthly payment for a $300,000 house only increases by roughly $200 from a 1% rise in the interest rate, the total repayment over the life of the mortgage increases by nearly $60,000. For this reason, it is critical to consider not only the monthly costs involved in financing but the long term costs as well.
So, whether you’re planning to climb the daunting 29,032-foot-tall Mount Everest this year, or just planning to buy a home, it is important to look out for yourself. Just like planning a mountaineering escapade, the effect that the 2022 interest-rate hikes have on an individual is predominately indicative of self-education. The expected interest-rate hikes may not be exhaustively comparable to hiking Mount Everest, but there is certainly a commonality in the necessity of planning and educating yourself. After all, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” (Benjamin Franklin).
Katie – Bham Realty
“Mortgage Rate Predictions for 2022 | Nextadvisor with Time.” Time, Time, 29 Dec. 2021, https://time.com/nextadvisor/mortgages/mortgage-prediction-2022/.
Fitzgerald. “The Majority of Fed Members Forecast Three Interest Rate Hikes in 2022 to Fight Inflation.” CNBC, CNBC, 15 Dec. 2021, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/15/the-majority-of-fed-members-forecast-three-interest-rate-hikes-in-2022-to-fight-inflation.html.
Irina, Irina. “Federal Reserve: Expect 3 Interest-Rate Hikes in 2022.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 16 Dec. 2021, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/fed-interest-rate-annoucement-what-to-expect-2021-12-15/.
Murray, Christopher. “How Much Does a 1% Difference in Your Mortgage Rate Matter?” Moneyunder30.Com, 24 Nov. 2021, https://www.moneyunder30.com/1-percent-difference-mortgage-rate.
“Home Loan Calculator with PMI, Taxes, and Insurance.” LendingTree, https://www.lendingtree.com/home/mortgage/calculators/home-loan-calculator/.
During the 2008 housing market crash, homeowners owed more on their mortgages than their home was worth. During this time, we saw areas across the United States with high poverty rates, in addition to high appreciation in years prior, struggle the most. Homeowners in these places saw a 44% decline in home prices when the housing market crashed, whereas homeowners in areas with low poverty rates, and low appreciation, saw a 10% decline in the average home price. Now, home prices are at all-time high and 67% of Americans view now as the worst time to buy a home. As the housing bubble gets set to burst, real estate experts are expecting to see the same decline in home value in high poverty areas that they saw back in 2008.
Areas with a high poverty rate are victims of investor interest for fix and flip. Homes in these areas are cheaper, and investors will come in during the housing bubble to buy. More interest in the area pushes prices up, causing home value appreciation to increase. When the crash begins and the home is updated or repaired, investors list their homes, pushing prices back down. The more appreciation we see in a specific area in the years leading up to a housing crash, the more that area will suffer in the aftermath.
The national poverty rate sits at an average of 14%, and the state of Alabama has an average of 15.5%. To be considered a high poverty area, the average poverty rate will be above 20%, and low poverty areas will see an average poverty rate below 10%. According to data from 2019, Bessemer (35020) and Midfield (35228) have some of the highest poverty rates, sitting at 25.9% and 22.1% respectively. With a higher poverty rate, comes cheaper home prices, and cheaper home prices are an interest to investors from all over.
High home value appreciation has been seen across all areas of metro Birmingham in the past year, but the higher percentages are found in those high poverty areas. For an area to be considered to have high appreciation, there needs to be at least a 10% increase in home value in the past year. Using the same areas from above, Bessemer has seen a 35% increase in appreciation value in the past year; Midfield saw a 29% increase. Areas with low poverty rates, such as Mountain Brook (35223) with a poverty rate of 2.5%, saw only a 17% increase in appreciation this past year. The average rate of appreciation for zip codes in the metro Birmingham area is 14%.
With less Americans wanting to buy, prices will begin to drop, and it will add to speculation of an impending housing market crash. The poverty level and amount of appreciation contribute to how much a specific area will suffer, and if you live in an area with high poverty rates and high appreciation, you are at higher risk of losing home value than any other area. If you are looking to buy a home, checking out the increase in appreciation of homes in the area in the prior years would benefit your investment in the event of a housing market crash.
You can check out the poverty rate for your zip code, as well as other important information, here.
You can check out the appreciation rate compared to poverty rate, ranked with numerous metro Birmingham zip codes through our excel sheet.
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen many changes to the housing market, including the need for more space for those who work from home. We are also seeing many younger people, such as millennials and Gen Z, choose to move back in with their families and stay for longer periods of time. Millennials make up the largest portion of first-time home buyers right now, but they aren’t buying homes at the same age and rate previous generations have. With more options available to them, affordability issues, and starting families later in life, millennial home buyers and older Gen Z have been slower to buy homes than the generations before them.
Millennials and older Gen Z are prolonging the home buying process by having more access to options and information than previous generations have had. Technology plays a big part in everyday life, and it is no different with the home buying process. You can find homes online through websites like Zillow or Redfin and have access to almost all the information you need to know, such as pictures, number of bedrooms, what kind of flooring; you don’t even have to enter the home. The number of options that are at their fingertips gives them more homes to sift through, more options to think about, and more areas to cover. Mortgages can also be shopped around for online. With easier access, home buyers now receive more mortgage quotes than previous generation home buyers; millennials have seen to get an average of 6 mortgage quotes, compared to the 3 that their parents may have gotten.
One of the biggest issues that has exiled younger adults from the housing market is affordability. Across the United States, new home buyers are being left out in the cold due to a housing shortage of nearly 4 million homes, propelling the average home prices to an all-time high. Homes today are 39% more expensive than they were 40 years ago. While wages have risen since then, they have not kept up with the increasing costs such as climbing rent prices, home prices, or tuition costs. Saving up money for long term goals, such as buying a new home, is hard to do when you have student loan payments and high living expenses.
Being able to afford to buy your own home has risen to top priority amongst millennials and older Gen Z, knocking down the idea of settling down and starting a family. With home prices already being at an all time high, younger couples can no longer afford the challenges that come with having kids, such as higher insurance, childcare, and parental leave. This higher cost of living contributes to the lack of stay-at-home mothers; families can no longer survive off one income. Many women also want to build a career and be financially secure before settling down to start a family, and women 50 years ago weren’t given this kind of opportunity. With so many couples waiting until later in life to settle down, it also pushes back the idea of buying a home.
Buying a home is a large investment, and it is a decision that many millennials are taking their time on. Whether it be due to too many decisions, affordability issues, or even the need to feel financially secure before making a long term decision, younger generations are ultimately prolonging their home buying experience.